Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10, 9, 8, 7, . . . .

Count Down to 2009! Can you believe it? While I'm a goal setter, a list maker, and a planner I'm almost afraid to look back @ 2008. Before looking ahead I always try to look back. How can you set a goal or make a list if you don't know where you are or where you've been?

Most ladies start with weight. Well, in '08 weight wasn't a issue with me. Hopefully it will not be in '09 either.

The first part of the year was lots of work. We got ready for the wedding and during '08 we had two new administrators at CCS. Wow! What a chore for me! My sister, Kristi, was the 07/08 administrator but had a baby. Then we employed Tina Parker in June. I've been busy!

I was VERY involved in outreach in 08. Started the year with about 8 or 10 kids and ended the year with 32! Success!

CUPC saw success in several areas. Growth being the most important. When I did my Christmas list I realized we had about 15 new familes! Pretty exciting....We began a new life group since the others were too crowded. We changed our prayer meeting format. While the new format is awesome I must be honest and say our people weren't attending family prayer on Saturday nights. Kent and I have been very discouraged by it. Amazing that the ones who are not the 'spiritual' ones always found time to be at prayer meetings. I hate the defeat I feel just talking about it. Our music department went through some changes and finally things are clicking along better now! Thanks to Glenda Martin, Trent & Calah for their MANY hours of planning. Yes others help but the 3 I mentioned spend hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of sacrifice. Our youth began a remodel project that is almost complete on a new youth room, The Spot. They had to stop short of finishing due to the busy holiday schedules. Our Senior Bible Quiz Team went to nationals! Several families experienced some awesome victories. These are just a few things from the top of my head....

I set a goal at the close of 07 to meet new people in 08. I chose blogging as one of the methods. I'm thankful for all my new/old friends I've met or reaquained with through blogging. I believe 09 will even be more fun! I have a new idea that I will be incorporating in my making/maintaining friends, too.

We gained a new pet, Bishop. Bishop is Kent's little buddy. Yes, I'm jealous!!! lol He gets the royal treatment.....

We gained a daughter-in-law, Calah. She is a little hard to get to know but is crazy once you do know her. She and her Father-in-law are pretty goofy together. I have always prayed that Trent would get someone to love him and be a homemaker. She is both!!!!

Redonia's life has been crazy this year. She makes me tired....she has had lots of business with her photography this year. She makes me crazy 'cause she's so artsy....one of my goals is to get her more organized! lol I'm thinking it will not happen.....

My MAIN GOAL in 2009 is to trim excess in every area of life....church and home. I want the church to be debt free....I want us to be debt free, too. Kent and I personally owe very little above our living/existence but I am cutting back.....I began this process in November --- just gearing up for the new year. If I am going to ask Kent and Redonia to join me then I must be doing it first and I have been!!! I saved $140 from our Christmas budget. Additionally, I applied for some refunds/rebates. We've already gotten $102 back this week in checks in the mail!!!!! I'm excited and am looking for more ways to save....

I haven't read the Bible through in a couple of years. This year I plan to read it from cover to cover. Well, I normally use the Bible on computer for reading & studying. It's just easier for me to see. I did get a giant print Bible at Conference but I struggle seeing it, too. My eyes are pretty dim. All the black just runs together on the page.

I want to have the house repainted in 09 and do a few minor updates with decor. I better get to saving quick! lol

Kent and I have been working on some goals for the church, too. One of them is talent will be 2nd to anointing. It's seems so hard to balance the two. I enjoy talking to my friend Dede Cooley on this subject. It's easy for people to 'hammer' the musicians and service leaders but what about the Sunday School staff, the ushers, and simply put the people in the pews???? We want more anointing in our pews.

Ok...one of my new goals is an earlier bedtime in 09....I have just sat down for the day and it was around 11:30 pm.....I would love to be in bed every night by 11:00 pm. I get up at 6:30 so that still will not be an extravagant amount of rest for this old body.

I'm sure I'll read over this post for a day or two and add a few more things. I'm inspired and challenged with what lies ahead in 2009......

Monday, December 29, 2008

??? Catch Up ???

If you ever get behind blogging how do you catch up???? Some details will be lost from the blog but never from my heart. From my previous post of my huge family picture through this very moment so much has happened.

I guess the next important event was Calah and Trent came over Christmas morning. We enjoyed a continental breakfast before opening gifts. Kent and I bought Calah and Trent Blackberrys. Thank you Deadra and David Weldon for helping us. I am always afraid of eBay but they assured me that everything would be fine. The kids were soooooooooooooo excited. Redonia got a camera bag, a new lens, and a few other photography items. She loved her 'toys', too! I surprised Kent with a golf membership. He needs an outlet. The kids and I worry about him. He works hard, carries lots of stress, and has a few health issues. Hopefully playing golf will help him and help us not to worry about him.

We had a fun time at Mom's Christmas. Again, waaaaaaaaaaaay too much food. Why do we cook so much? All the little neices and nephews enjoyed their many gifts. Grammy and Popsie gave my kids gift cards. They love getting gift cards. All the grown ups played the Chinese Gift Exchange. Of course Calah & Trent played, too. Wow! We had some really great gifts this year. I was a thief and took some really great serving pieces from Courtney. We had lots of fun playing and gifting. Kent got a ever so loved Panera Gift Card. Dana Mack joined us for lunch. She is a great lady from CUPC. My family loves having company on holidays. Dana, I hope you felt loved!

Christmas night the Fergies and Backhus families came over. We had a Blackberry Support Group session! lol We all shared tricks we've learned. Of course the real purpose was to set up Kent's phone. He's loving his new toy, I mean phone!

Friday we went to Lufkin to have Christmas with the Smiths. Wow! What a loud fun time we had! There were 5 noisey children under 6 years of age. The kids had so much fun. Saturday morning we took the kids to McDonalds to have a birthday party for Drew, Jackson, and Pierson. All three of the boy's birthdays are Christmas week. Mamaw bought them a cute birthday cake. They all got lots of fun gifts. Kent and Ken couldn't handle the party and skipped out to Starbucks. Soon several more of us joined the sober crowd! lol

Papaw grilled steaks and we had a good lunch. My parents have been life long friends of the Smith family, too. They came up to see everyone. Mom loves all Kent's siblings. Many of them have been apart of our holiday gatherings at one year or another, too. After lunch the kids opened their gifts. They loved their new toys! Redonia and Kameron exchanged gifts. She got a gift card. Whoo Hoo! The Smith family does the gift exchange, too. They enjoy being goofy with the gifts. Well some of them enjoy being silly. I tend to take 'real' gifts. Among the gifts was a box of old and I do mean old preaching tapes, an Obama tshirt and mouse pad, a few of Joy Haney books, a plate rack, and some horrible looking neck ties! Of course there were a few good gift cards thrown into the mix, too! lol There's always lots of laughter during the exchange. You just NEVER know what you may open. Some of the prank gifts made their way into our trunk and home with us. Of course we had a big laugh when we discovered them. Redonia took some great Smith family pictures. I can't wait to see them. Hopefully, I'll post them soon.

Redonia, Calah, & Trent reserved Kent and me a room at the Magnolia Hotel Houston for last night. The hotel is rated by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as one of the top 100 hotels in the world! Redonia gave us an American Express Gift Card for dinner, too. The hotel offers complimentary limo shuttle. We were shuttled to Birraporetti's where we enjoyed a romantic dinner. The hotel has a hospitality level where cookies, milk and Starbucks coffee is served in the evening. I just couldn't resist getting some cookies for the room, yummm. This morning Kent returned to the hospitality level where a complimentary breakfast buffet was served. We enjoyed breakfast in our suite. We did experience a little problem that turned to our favor. Our bed had been made but sheets weren't changed. Of course the manager was very embarrassed and accomodating. The adjoining room to ours was a four room suite. He sent a bellman to simply move us through the adjoining door. Wow were we ever surprised when the door was opened! Anyone going to General Conference in Houston it would be a room to reserve! It had a beautiful full kitchen. Dining room with mahoganny table and a nice living room. Of course the bedroom suite was beautiful, too. All the rooms have lavish bathrooms. Thank you kids for such a nice getaway! We know it was a REAL sacrifice of your budgets and never expect such wonderful gifts from you guys. Of course Calah and Trent gave me a beautiful outfit and Kent some golf accessories, too.

This afternoon I sit in my clean but decorated home. I am so ready to take it down. I'm not feeling it today, though maybe tomorrow! lol The sun is shining brightly through the beautiful leaded door and high windows. I certainly can say that this was the BEST Christmas ever. The gifts were nice and thoughtful but the very fact that we spent time with our family made it the BEST. I was able to spend time with my 3 siblings and 5 'other' siblings. We were able to spend time with Kent's 4 siblings. Of course I enjoyed all our neices and nephews, too. They are the best. During the holidays we were able to spend time with some of Kent's cousins, too.

We are so blessed!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I want to wish each of you a MERRY Christmas.....Think about the word merry!

Last evening I enjoyed hosting my 8 sibilings and their families for a Christmas birthday party for our (step)Dad. Everyone was here except Trent, Calah & Mark. Wow! What an accomplishment. Redonia took a picutre of everyone. I haven't seen it yet but it should be interesting. This was the very first time in 17 years that we had so many of us together at one time. I know our parents enjoyed the evening. We had waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyy too much food. Kent made bacon wrapped shrimp that was a big hit! Let me give him credit before he pops a comment about his help. Oh and since I had fever and was sick he helped alot in the kitchen. He washed every dish! Thanks, Kent! We filled Popsie's old and I do mean old boots with 305 $1.00 bills. He was very surprised. We gave him instructions to buy himself a new pair of boots.

Redonia opened a few gifts last night. She had Uncle Mickey, Aunt Kristi, Madeline, Gentry & Mallorie stay and be apart of her Christmas. She was a little sad with out her Bub this year. We are awaiting the now late Trent and Calah to arrive so we can enjoy Santa with them. They are going to be soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo surprised!!!!! I love surprising my kids! Speaking of surprises, Kent really got me good he bought me a new laptop! Whoo Hoo....Mine will be passed to Madeline who will pass the one Uncle Kent gave her to Gentry. Talking about regifting! lol I called the kids and told them. Gentry screamed, "I got a laptop!!!" I have Kent a awesome surprise for today, too! He has NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO idea!!!!

This morning I took Grammy and Popsie stockings. I can't believe they both said it was their first stockings to ever receive. Wow! I just filled with a bunch of strange ideas. Popsie got strawberry preserves, honey, peanut brittle and a shoe shine sponge. Grammy got Vienna Sausages (she loves them!), shower gelt, candy, & a note pad. I'm sure they got a few other items but these are the ones that come to mind.

We are going to Mom's for lunch and a gift exchange with my siblings, neices, & nephews. We always have lots of great food. Mom & Popsie are wonderful cooks. Each of us children contribute to the meal, too. I am taking hashbrown casserole and several yummy desserts. I love my family and spending time with them.

Again, please have a most MERRY Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love you all

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Popsie

Today Popsie turns 74. Wow! I don't think of him as 74. Popsie pastored a few churches, deputized to go to Africa and just prior to going his wife passed away suddendly with breast cancer. Of course with 3 chilren still at home his life changed quite rapidly. In those days a single man wasn't permitted to go to the field with children. Popsie had 2 grown children and Deniese and Carla helped with Paulette, Karen, and Kelly. Popsie preached revivals, meetings, etc for survival. Soon he returned to the post office where he retired.

I actually was first in our family to become acquained with the Patrick family. While living with the McClains during college Carla worked for ACA. She was a beautiful sweet person. Later I went to work for ACA and was actually Kelly (and Gayla's) teacher. Though I was young I began to care for Kelly like a Mom. I would sew on buttons, remind him of special projects, etc. Kelly was a very smart and considerate young man. I remember thinking Popsie was very handsome and kind, too.

Leter my Mom got 'fixed' up with Bro. Patrick. I really liked him and didn't mind. Later I did mind because I didn't want my Mom to remarry. It seemed cold to my Dad. I KNOW he was gone but it just made it seem so final.

Mom immediately loved the Patrick kids. In fact the 4 of us Thomas kids at times felt like the step children. She cared for their every whim! lol

Of course men show love in different ways but Popsie TRULY loved us from the beginning. He had no grandchildren at the time and immediately inherited 4. He is the only grandfather on my side the children have ever known. They LOVE LOVE LOVE their Popsie. Popsie bought Trent several pair of boots even though my mom fussed and griped that they were too expensive. He took Trent to the Post Office so many times. He really has not done any 'spoiling' things that I can think of for Redonia BUT they are TIGHT. Redonia has ALWAYS kissed and hugged her Popsie. In fact to this very day she makes sure she kisses and hugs HER Popsie.

This is our very first time to celebrate Popsie's birthday with him. OH, we've always given him a gift but normally he is with 'his side' of the family for his birthday and Christmas. This has beeen a year of firsts. I decided to 'blend' Mom's birthday. Later Carla decided to 'blend' Popsie's b'day. I like it better this way. I KNOW our parents like it better, too. They feel no different toward one side or the other.

The difference has come from us children. We have always LOVED one another dearly. But something about blending grown children is difficult. We don't have to blend. It's not like children living at home. We were all grown when Mom and Popsie decided to get married. I think that has made it difficult. We had our own familes.

From the start Thanksgiving has been blended. It has always worked well. My fun loving other sister, Karen, takes the blame for not blending sooner but trust me Karen isn't the blame. We all just have dealt with death of a parent in weird ways. Karen and I talked earlier that it's been longer without our 'real' parent who passed from this life for most of us children than with them. I know it's sad but life keeps going on and we can't erase the past.

OH well...didn't mean to blog about our 'blend'....REALLY wanted to tell a GREAT man, Popsie, happy birthday. Popsie works hard. Though he's retired he still preaches out quite a bit and works at a funeral home, too. He's quirky in some ways but hey aren't we all? He gripes every year he isn't going to decorate the yard for Christmas. It's a big deal! lol Well this year the neighborhood association voted him 2nd place! Whoo Hooo He will receive $100. I bet Mom spends it on a bill or something before he ever sees it....poor Popsie! Popsie loves to drive. He drives for the funeral home. If you ever take a trip with him you will not get the wheel. Popsie is a good cook. He loves to hunt. Popsie is a great singer, too. He LOVES sitting in his home office. He reads, studys, and listens to books on tape. Poor thing he can get in there and close the door without a lot of noise. Most of the grandchildren enjoy the computer so sometimes the noise just follows him to his office.

Popsie, I love you VERY VERY much! You are a wonderful step-dad. Thank you for being a great POPSIE for Trent and Redonia. I know the kids both love you! Thanks for being there for both of them. More importantly thanks for loving me. I KNOW you are always there for me. Through difficult times in life I know I have you to depnd on. I hope today will be your best birthday ever!!!

Happy Birthday to a man who deserves it.....Can't wait for everyone to show up at our home for your party. We'll have a great time together. Oh...we have you a s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday...the First Day Off

I arose early and spent some time cleaning & blogging. Soon after Redonia came bolting downstairs crying. I didn't even realize she was awake. She insisted I needed to get her a doctor's appointment immediately. I called and was given a 2:15 appointment. Soon Redonia's sniffles became quite loud. She was in major pain. Her left ear was hurting and she lost all hearing in the ear. After a repeated call to the doctor's office I was told to take her in immediately. Poor Redonia when she's sick she does it up good. She has a cyst in her left ear. She has been in pain most of the day.

Tonight Redonia grew concerned about our Christmas traditions. She and Trent have always believed in Santa. Each year they unwrap 2 gifts each. One is from their Dad and me and the other is their exchange between themselves. The gift from Kent and me is ALWAYS pajamas. Afer opening the gifts we normally play a game or sit around laughing with one another. On Christmas morning our rule is that the kids can not come downstairs until they let us know. The camera is ready and they walk down the stairs together -usually hand in hand. Their Santa gifts are never wrapped. Santa just places them under the tree. (A tradition we had growing up, too!) Redonia asked when did I plan to give them their 'jammies'. I explained Trent and Calah wouldn't be getting 'jammies'. The tears began to roll....She said that wasn't fair because Trent has always gotten jammies. She felt like he would be upset and regardless she would be 'cause he wouldn't be here to share in our time.

We discussed this year we would have to make some changes. We are blessed to have Trent and Calah for some of Christmas Day. However, we will not spend Christmas Eve with them. Christmas Eve has always been our fun time. This didn't help Redonia's feelings. Kent and I told her she would be getting 'more' than the married kids. We explained her gifts would all be wrapped this year. She wasn't happy! We told her she would get her 'extra' gifts on Christmas Eve after Popsie's birthday party. Then Trent and Calah are coming over Christmas morning and we will exchange with them. We told her she will get her 2 big gifts when Trent and Calah receive their gifts. Of course we will do stockings then, too. This didn't help her feelings.

Redonia immediately called Trent and asked him to come over tomorrow night. Trent has plans and that schedule wouldn't work. The only night they could come over was tonight. So you guessed it... off I went to buy pajamas for Calah and Trent. Previously I purchased the game, Imaginiff, for the kids. Calah, is still getting acquainted with our quirky ways. They came over to open their Christmas Eve traditional gift. Redonia always plays Santa. When she handed Trent the gift he said, "this better be my pajamas or I'm going to be sad!" lol Thank God for Redonia prompting me to do the jamie thing or I would have had a sad married boy! lol Then the three of them opened their shared gift, Imaginiff.

Trent and Redonia immediately changed into their jamies, a family tradition. Then the five of us played Imginiff. Although we were all a little tired and Redonia still sick but we still had a fun time laughing together. Though our traditions are having to change we still plan to hang on to as many of them as possible. I now see the traditions are important to Redonia and Trent, too.

All and all I enjoyed our first day of Christmas break....



Merry Christmas

In Retrospect of Sunday



I awoke long before the alarm sounded uggggghhhhh. I was excited about the toy drive. It was Texas cold and I knew all my outreach babies would be full of energy. Normally we take two vehicles and sometimes three. However, I knew we would need four vehicles today.

During the short caravan from the church to our mission field I began to be tormented. What if the van wouldn't even be filled and now look I have these extra drivers and workers. Upon pulling into our first apartment complex I KNEW we would need every vehicle. The children were outside awaiting our grand entrance. We only had to wait on one child to finish her braids. Normally we have to awake children and wait for them to get dressed or even sometimes help them get dressed. The second complex was much the same. Everyone except one child was outside waiting on us to arrive! What a joyous ride to the church we had with 30 merry children.

After the class parties all the children were escorted to the sanctuary. While we arranged the outreach children in numeric order at the altar we enjoyed some entertainment from a few church children. Evan, Mary, & Redonia sang an animated version of "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth". Jayce, Taylor, and Cole sang a wild and crazy version of "Jingle Bells". I love the talent of our children.

Each outreach child was given 3 gifts. No child received the same gifts. Several weeks ago we began gathering wish lists. There were Barbies, baby dolls, trucks, transformers, hoodies, Jordans, balls, and games. I have been talking with the children for about a month about their manners. I was so proud of them. Each one left with great enthusiasm and gratitude. All the children including church children received a cute stocking filled with toys, candy, and a Capri Sun drink.

Early Sunday morning Santa arrived at the church to ride the van. He made his grand entrance into our parking lot in a shiny red corvette. After church the kids loved the 'wheels'. Santa decided to caravan home with us in his red vette. Several parents came out to take pictures with their cell phones of their children with Santa and the fancy car.

Several parents shed tears of thanksgiving for all CUPC does for children. I believe this year we gave many gifts that aren't tangible. I KNOW we touched a few Mom's hearts.

Last night's service was more of a worship service. Kent concluded the service with "Jingle Bells" He called several from the audience to sing the praise team. He chose both young and old join the sing-a-long. He gave an elderly lady his keys to 'play'. Of course people in the audience began to join in with playing their bells, keys. Our church was very much in the spirit of Christmas. Kent was wise enough to realize it wouldn't be a Holy Ghost outpouring. It was however an outpouring of the love of God.

When we drove from the parking lot a sense of rest came over me. I suddendly realized the banquets, parties, giftings, and church festivities were accomplished. What an incredible Christmas season CUPC shared! Now it's off for some much needed family time. The parties aren't over nor the giftings, it's just now for a more personal sense of the meaning of Christmas. I pray all our church families are blessed and enjoy the meaning of Christmas - sharing God's gift, His love and not the commercialized gift of spending and pressure.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hello World!!!!

The past two days have been filled with 'stuff'. Yesterday our day began by visiting the halls and classrooms of CCS. Kent and I enjoy mingling with the many fine students of our Christian school. I'm not positive of the enrollment but it is probably 75 students. Party days are filled with nibbling on cookies and candy and even receiving a gift or two. After celebrating with the students we ran a few errands - you know Christmas shopped! Later we attend a college graduation for one of 'our kids'. Congratulations, Amy!!!

Today I got up around 7 am to mark a few things off my 'list'. After accomplishing a couple of huge chores Kent and I spent the day shopping. Our travels took us to The Woodlands Mall, Portofino Center and the Galleria. We enjoyed lunch at a Mongolian Grill with Trent and Calah. Later we enjoyed relaxing at the Dessert Gallery. I accomplished MOST of my list. I still want to get Kent a surprise or two and need a few more stocking stuffers. Otherwise, the shopping is finished! I stayed in budget. However, I could have been significantly under budget if Dear ole Dad would have stayed out of the spending. He's such a softy! lol

Tomorrow is our Toy Drive. I'm very excited about having Christmas with my babies. Hopefully I will get some pics posted. Each of our 32 outreach children will receive 3 gifts. It's going to be so much fun!

My eye lids are closing....I better sleep while I feel the urge. Nite...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a Wonderful Day!!!

I awoke long before the alarm went off @ 6:30 this morning. However, when the alarm went off I thought it was late enough to make two phone calls. Aren't you glad I didn't call you at 6:30? My first phone call was to Redonia. Yes she was upstairs but hey we don't have an intercom so we call one another. I know I know we are a little strange! lol She was awake but I still called her. She sounded like a little froggy. She's still a sick little froggy.

My second call was to my Bub. No not Baby Boy Bub, Trent. I wouldn't dare call him @ 6:30. He is Oscar the Grouch until his feet hits the floor. Then he is a singing bird. Poor Calah, my other sick froggy. Ok on with the story.....I called my Bub, my brother, the one and only one of our immediate family that carries on my maiden name. That's kinda sad if I think about it. My little bubba isn't so little any more. In fact well....let's just leave it at my little bubba isn't.....I was hoping I would wake him up but I didn't. I was disappointed. He loves calling and waking all of us sisters up. He's such a brat!

Let me tell you about my brother. Oh I guess I should share his name for those of you who have't met him. His name is Raymond Scott Thomas. He is the best brother that any sister could ever and I do mean ever want. Scotty Boy was born on December 18, 1972. He was born with some health issues and was immediately transported to the Children's Hospital in Birmingham Alabama. Bub is our Christmas baby. He came home on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Mom will definitely set the record straight when she reads this post! lol Both of Scott's lungs collapsed at birth. He is our Christmas Miracle.

Each year on his birthday Mom got him a winter decorated cake. You know the one with the little green trees on them. Poor mistreated kid had to just get one of his Christmas gifts for his birthday. He was so deprived. He always got one less gift than the girls! ha ha ha ha

Everyone has always loved Scott. When he was just a kid he had the most out going personality. He has left us with some awesome childhood memories....tearing up all his cars to see what they were made of, spray painting toys, stuff cats yes real cats in metal lunch boxes and then sliding the box under the chest freezer ---- he thought it was neat when Dad found it and let the screaming cat out. Scott's comments was "You shouldda seen dat cat scratching!" Scott couldn't pronounce 'f' but rather said 'h' === hoot, hinger, hireturck, get the picture! lol Daddy bought him a pony when he was about 8 yrs old. The goofy boy sold the pony, feed, saddle, and all for $25 to a neighbor. He had a pet alligator. Scott began working at about 14 yrs of age at a grocery store. All the old ladies loved him and wanted Scott to take out their groceries. He always made big tips. He never meets a stranger. Scott is very compassionate. He loves his family. Scott is an awesome son. He is a wonderful brother. He is a great uncle. He is great daddy to his two beautiful girls. He loves his wife, Courtney. He loves doing things to make all 3 of his girls happy. Just last week Kent and I talked about Scott's generosity to his girls.

Scott loves people. We sometimes call him Oscar the Grouch. He loves waking up people but hummmm if you ever wake him up or keep him up once he's tired he forgets it is pay back! He rarely is grouchy though. He is brilliant with details. He is a wonderful cook. He loves making arrangements with his food. He did incredible with Calah and Trent's fruit display @ the wedding. He is famous for his cheesecakes. He loves participating in cook-offs. He has played Santa for a few civic events. Shhhhh don't tell the kids but he's Santa at our church each year. He has a professional suit that is so beautiful. He loves Santas. He loves the outdoors - four wheelers, hunting, fishing, boating, jet skiing. He sings well he just doesn't use his talent for the Lord and I could beat his bootie!!! He is an incredible front door usher. He makes every guest who enters the church feel welcome.

Ok, you other sisters and Mom help me out....there is so much I could say about my brother. Let me just finish up by saying Happy Birthday, Bub, Bubba, Scott, Scotty Boy, Raymond, Nerd or whomever you are at the moment. You make everyone feel special. You do too much for all of us.....Tonight we are going to have a fun time for your birthday. I hope this is the best one you've ever had.

As I type this the following email just came thru from Scott:

All the girls and Corbin had my desk decorated, have tons of food, even a cake with red and green and christmas trees. they are all in red with santa's helpers hats on and had me a santa hat to wear.


Scott you deserve not only the family party but the work party. You've always done so much for everyone else. I love you. Happy Birthday

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fun, Food, Friends, Ornaments, Cold - Brrrrr

Last evening was our annual Ladies Christmas Party. I enjoy hosting this party at our home. Some years I have a few ladies help by bringing a dessert. This year I chose to do it myself. Well, doing it myself never really means doing it by myself. It just means I'll get it done! lol

Sidenote: Thanks Deadra!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What would I do without you??? Deadra, is our secretary who just turned 30 something! lol She is always eager to learn. I love working in the kitchen with her. Last week she told me she wanted to help with the Christmas Party. Of course she didn't have to say that because her job duty for the day was going to be 'help me'! ha She went on to say she wanted me to teach her how to make some fun things. I hope despite the great fatigue she left with a few cooking tricks and yummy recipes. I've posted our recipes on Charming Hospitality Deadra will probably laugh when she reads the recipes. I don't cook with recipes. I just would say throw in a handful of this or that. Then she'd stir and I'd say, "Oh throw in a little bit more!"

I better also say thanks to Trent and Kent or I'll be in trouble. Kent washed the dog while Trent vacuumed. Thanks Baby Boy Bub!!!!! :) The boys also set up 'all' and I do mean 'all' the small tables and chairs. Everybody had to have a seat!!!

Ok, on with the party details....it was a blast! All the ladies seemed to love the food, drinks, and each other. Annually we do an ornament exchange. This year's exchange was fun. The ladies bring an unwrapped ornament and hang it on the 4 ft prelit tree. We do the Chinese Gift Exchange. We had some fun thieves! lol

We had several guests. One of them is a precious 93 year old lady. I met Mrs. Ray when we first moved to Conroe. She is a very elegant 93 year old lady. She enjoyed the party and even walked around the crowded living area on her cane in search of a 'perfect ornament'. Too cute!!! Thanks Marie Sutton for bringing your neighbor!

After the party was over Glenda Martin (my personal duck!!!) and Vicki helped with the clean up. Of course Kent and Deadra couldn't get out of the clean up. I wanted to immediately post my thoughts of the evening but was much too tired.

At the beginning of the party I challenged the ladies to forget their stresses and enjoy the evening. Thank you girls for doing just that! My two girls were both very sick. I insisted on both of them resting yesterday rather than helping. Calah and Redonia, I hope today you will both feel better. Calah was at the party with fever.

I know there were specific needs in the crowd. Normally in closing we pray for the needs of our friends. Last night I felt to ignore the needs. God knows them anyway. I didn't want to dwell on any problems. I know that laughter and joy is a good medicine. I hope all the girls left last evening with a renewed Spirit of God dwelling in them and a joyful attitude of Christmas.

Please do check out the delicious recipes. Nothing pleases me more than to share with others. This is my gift to each of you.....

Oh! I strive to be a charming hostess. I've never verbalized that but I just never want to lose my deep southern roots I gained in Alabama. Last night as the guests were leaving and each said their good byes I got one HUGE compliment. Mrs. Ray hugged me and wished me Merry Christmas. She told me how lovely she thought my home was BUT THEN....she said, "Honey, you are the most charming hostess I've ever seen." She went on to say when her husband was alive how they hosted dinner parties and enjoyed going to them. She said this was the most charming! Aaaaaaahhhhhh I didn't say that to brag on myself but it did bring tears to my eyes. I do want to be charming and everyone to feel like my home is their home! My sister brought me a sweet and I do mean sweet hostess gift. It was so pretty. She brought a fluffy red stocking and placed in it a bag of cordial chocolate kisses ( I love them!!!). She placed bright lime green and red printed tissue paper coming from the top. Vicki's a southern girl, too!

Ok, if you haven't already you have to have someone over to your home. Make a pot of soup or chili. Mix in a few desserts and you'll have a blast. You'll be better for sharing with others!!!

Merry Merry Happy Happy Christmas!!!! Can you tell I'm in the Christmas spirit???? Now I need to buy a few more gifts....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Things I'm thankful for....

I'm thankful for many things but one thing I'm most thankful for is for a MEAN Momma and Daddy! They taught me to be tough, shut up, grow up and put my shoulder to the plow. I have worked hard to teach my kids the same thing. Only time will tell if I've accomplished!

I'm thankful I'm goal oriented. Since the year is rapidly coming to an end Kent and I have been busy setting goals for next year. Since Trent is no longer at home we haven't talked with him about his personal goals for 2009. We have shared some goals for the church with him for 2009. We have spent some time talking with Redonia about her personal goals for 09. In fact tonight she called me on her way home from college and we talked her entire way home about some of her goals. She called to tell me she signed up for a class that is one of her electives that covers goal setting, tasks, etc. I'm excited about the class. I want to take it with her!

I'm thankful I'm a list maker. I'm wise enough to know that I may forget something important. Lists help keep me on track.

I'm thankful that I do not struggle with low self esteem. Regardless what may go on in my life I have confidence that I can get thru with God. When we realize we are not alone there is never reason for low self esteem.

I'm thankful I do not get offended easily. According to wikipedia.org the phrase "having a chip on one's shoulder" means having a harbored grievance and being quick to take offense. What a miserable way to live! Who would want to harbor grivances and be offended easily? I learned a long time ago if I harbor a bad feeling it's my fault and only hurts me. I also learned a long time ago that people easily offended hurts themselves for soon everyone 'knows those that labor among them'. No one willfully wants to spend time with the easily offended. After all it isn't fun walking on egg shells.

I'm thankful that even when America's economy is bad, finances may be challenged, society is frustrated, and we aren't sure of our governmental leading that God is in control. I do not have to be consumed with fear or doubt. We are living in God's economy and He always will prevail. I'm thankful that God is with me no matter the situations around me. I'm thankful I don't go sideways for the world to see when I maybe stressed. I'm thankful that I know it is my place to add support and value to my husband and my children and not go crazy and stress out. I am concerned when people have faith when all is well but in the midst of pressures they resort to ungodly behavior.

I'm thankful I was taught that honesty is a priority. As a child I knew if I did something wrong I would be 'in trouble' but if I was dishonest the consequences were much greater. I'm concerned with adults being deceptive and not thinking they are lying. Honesty is important in words, actions, and attitudes. Why act sick if you are not? Why make situations seem worse?

I'm thankful I don't like drama...as in drama in life. Yes, life becomes dramatic at times but I don't have to create drama.

I'm thankful that I was taught at TBC and probably even before to learn from other's actions. Learning isn't only 'what to do' but often it encompasses 'what not to do'. I want to be an avid learner!

These are some random thoughts I've had of late......I'm thankful!

Believe!

What an incredible weekend CUPC enjoyed! Our Christmas Program was hosted in both services. The ensemble sang different songs but the rest of the program remained the same. There was definitely something for every style and age.

Santa made a grand apperance during the drama during the morning service. Last night Misti Ferguson asked the audience to sing along with her "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". She challenged the kids if they would sing loud Santa may appear. Just as she finished singing Santa came strolling down the aisle shaking hands and patting children. It was so pretty. We are blessed to have a 'real' Santa each year!

When Kent stepped on stage to greet guests he asked Santa to come back into the sanctuary. He invited all the kids to join Santa on stage. Wow! The Moms got lots of great pictures. I hope someone will email me one. (hint, Deadra!) Of course Santa also appeared during the drama.

"Believe!" was an incredible dramatic modern day portrayal. It was filled with teen sarcasm, humor, and romance. I'm not sure if Calah directed as written or if she added in the music that was sang by the carolers during the program. Our church family and guests raved and raved about the program. Prior to the drama we had a variety of singers. Our sign team performed "O Holy Night". The Children's Choir sang and did a wonderful job. The boys wore red sweatpants and white undershirts. The little girls wore Christmas gowns and/or Christmas housecoats. Prior to tchildren's song one of our ladies read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with the children gathered around her. It was really pretty!

Of course our foyer has been beautifully decorated since Thanksgiving. After service Santa sat in front of the snowman. The children got to sit in his lap for pictures. A few adults enjoyed Santa, too!

Both services the sanctuary was filled. We had lots of guests. I called a friend last week and invited her and her children. I am so happy that they came and sat with me in the morning service. I love Tamia!

During the first part of last night's service Chris Ferguson presented Christmas gifts to Kent, Redonia and me from the church. Kent and I were given $800. Redonia was given $100. It was sad that Trent wasn't standing with us. Even Bro. Ferguson made mention of Trent. Our church loves Trent and Calah. We are so grateful. At the conclusion of last night's service Glenda Martin, Trent's other Mother since he was 3 yrs old, made a presentation to Trent and Calah. She gave the kids $200 for Christmas. Trent and Calah were both very overwhelmed. After leaving the church Trent told me that he told Calah he didn't think that had ever happened for a music director or assistant. Trent and Calah fill both roles. The Smith family loves every CUPC family. We do not take for granted the kindness shown us.

Kent's brother, Andy, and his wife Pam came to our program last night. We were glad they came. They pastor in Marble Falls, Texas. Of course they came to see their grandson, Drew, one of the sheep in the program. It was fun sitting up l-a-t-e last night spending tiBulleted Listme with family. Of course they had to get up early to return to Marble Falls. This is their busy season, too. Thanks Pam and Andy for visiting. We LOVE you and cherish the times we have together.

This morning I 'believe'! I believe....
  • I'm tired
  • Yesterday was most successful
  • Christmas is almost here and I'm not ready
  • This is going to be a great week
  • The ladies are going to be buzzing @ my home tomorrow night
  • I'm excited about our toy drive
  • I plan to share light with others this week.

Blogging friends, believe with me this week. Yes, we are all busy. We all have responsibilites. Some of us carry pressures. However, since we believe let's spread the reason for the season this week. At the check outs lets be warm and friendly. Let's be sensitive to our friends. Find ways to show our family we love them. I BELIEVE we can show Christ to others.

I'm glad I BELIEVE!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

THINK......Ignite....Don't Blame

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion, you must set yourself on fire first." - Reggie Leach

A great frustration of mine is too many people blame others for their problems, their spouse's problems, and their children's problems. I agree with Reggie Leach to be successful we can't wait for a spontaneous combustion but rather we MUST ignite ourselves. I realize circumstances are apart of who we are but they do not mark who we become. Simply we can not make excuses. We all have many reasons for frustration, for failure, for offense. Why remain dim because of issues? We must drop the excuse and ignite ourselves in order to be successful.
  • What kind of day will we enjoy if we begin the day ignited?
  • What success will be derived from an ignited me?
  • If Kent faces the day 'lit' how powerful will he be?
  • If Trent wil lite his own passion how consuming will he be?
  • If Redonia begins her college studies lit what will the outcome be?
We exist with others around us but ultimately it is up to one's ownself to find success each day. It isn't the professors fault if Redonia bombs a test. It isn't the fault of a distraction that will hinder Trent. If Kent's burden slips it isn't the fault of the congregation or his minister friends. If I don't accomplish the goal set before me it isn't the fault of anyone other than myself.

Dear God, I must accept the challenge to self ignite. I live in a world consumed with the philosophy that every problem is the fault of others. Societal belief is it is the responsibility of others to bail out. Let me ignite to become the person YOU want me to become. I KNOW I can do all things through You, Jesus, who strengthens me!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Everywhere!

Not only has it been snowing outside but it has been snowing in our church foyer!



I saw this cute picture of my beautiful daughter, Redonia, on Deadra's blog. I had to copy it! Thanks, Deadra! I LOVE Frosty & REDONIA!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Snowing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes it is snowing! Kent and I enjoyed the snowy drive home from the office. I came in and made hot chocolate topped with marshmallows! Yummmm I sliced Kent a piece of pecan pie and I had a yummy slice of coconut cake. The lights are dim and the house is pretty - all lit up! Everywhere I look I see Christmas lights. The dining room has 3 trees in one corner and a lit garland on the china cabinet. The stairs have poinsettias and lit garlands. There are candles in my windows on the stair case. The tall windows on the stairs and the huge window above my front door reflect all the lights. Ahhhh so beautiful! Just think its even beautiful and wintry outside.

Ok, I sit here with my thoughts towards church. How many people will stay home because it's cold? Hummmmm what would they think if the pastor and his wife stayed home to enjoy the winter weather????? Isn' t that an amazing thought????? I know that no one will miss church because it's cold! (wink) Ok, to all of you saints from other churches who read my thoughts, remember what's good for the preacher is good for the saint!!!!! Yes, I know what's good for the saint is good for the preacher, too. Trust me we do live by that rule. In fact we endeavor to be the first partaker let me say not just the first partaker but to exceed all other partakers......

Happy Wednesday.....if you have service tonight...worship to the best of your ability!

I love Mid.point!

Remember in Texas:
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas........

?Enjoying? the Week!

Yes I am!!

Sunday night was our annual Christmas Banquet. The tables were pretty, the food was delicious, the crowd was great, & the entertainment was good. We had a great banquet! It was great seeing so many of our new people at the banquet. Just as I enjoy dinner with my family so do I enjoy banquets with my CUPC family. Church gatherings are healthy to keep people connected.

Monday was a stressful day for me. Yes, I am human and yes I have struggles! Amazing how God always helps me though. Kent had a project @ the church with a couple of men. I spent the evening preparing for our staff party. I needed the alone time. In the midst of dealing with my struggles I was in Wal-Mart. What a horrible place to be dealing with life! First off let me say I normally buy groceries @ Kroger. I went to HEB I grew more frustrated and left. I went to Kroger again I felt frustration and left. I walked around Sams. I love that place! Then I decided I had to buy groceries for the party. I went into Wal-Mart which is next door. I detest shopping at Wal-Mart. There I ran into Bro. & Sis. Danny Lewis. They pastor a East Texas church. I asked "What on earth are you doing buying groceries here?" Sis. Lewis laughed, "We are here staying in a condo and going to do our Christmas shopping this week." We chatted a few minutes. She said they brought church clothes and plan to visit us Wednesday night. Amazing how standing in Wal-Mart catching up with a friend helps to erase your struggles. In fact I am certain she didn't even know I was dealing with a struggle.

Tuesday I arose early. Normally I employ a house cleaner. This year I decided I could handle it myself. Why did I think that? Probably because I enjoy cleaning my own home. I spent most of the day making sure everything was just right. Then I began to prepare the meal. For some crazy reason I decided to start the meal early. No for some God reason I did! I have a great kitchen for cooking for a crowd. My stove top has 5 burners. I have double large ovens. One of my ovens decided to not work. It never did work! Oh well, I managed most people have only 1 oven but how do you make it with one??? I managed to cook the chicken in the lower oven. Once the chicken was done I baked the rolls. I sent Trent to Mom's to bake the carrots. (Mom lives next door!) Sorry you spilled oil on your pants, bub.

The party was great! I prepared for 28 guests. Madeline and Deadra helped me before the party. Madeline is my 8 year old niece. I enjoy teaching her how to do things. Maddie folded napkins and put out the flatware. She also cleaned all my doors. (I hate dirty doors!) She's a GREAT helper. I'm thinking one day she will be a preacher's wife. She loves to do for others more than herself, likes to decorate, and loves praying with friends in the altar. Deadra is one of my 'bestest workers'. I have to say 'one of' or Redonia will get m-a-d! lol Glenda Martin arrived early to help with all the finishing touches. Then she totally cleaned the kitchen while the rest of us were having fun. What would I do without her???? I can always count on Sis. Martin!

You can check out my menu on my Charming Hospitality Blog. Kent and I bought Fitz & Floyd Christmas serving pieces for the staff. I think everyone loved their gifts! I bought cute Santa and snowmen patterns. I love Fitz and Floyd!!!

Today it's off to buy a Christmas tree for the program. After church Courtney, Calah, and I will decorate the tree. It's going to be beautiful. Yes it will be front and center on our stage. I love Christmas!

Tuesday night is our annual ladies Christmas party at our home. We will have a huge crowd!!! I can't wait. I'll prepare soup, salad, and desserts.

At some point I need to begin my Christmas shopping. I am sure I will soon. I have some good pictures taken during the season. Thanks Redonia for the pics! Maybe later today I will create a slide show to share them.

Today it's cold in Conroe. Check out our forecast:
Dec 10 Rain to Snow 40° high 27° low 70% chance of precipitation

I hope each of you are enjoying a blessed Christmas season!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Some of my F-a-v-o-r-i-t-e People

Noticed I said SOME....

The first is of my niece, Madeline....Notice her bling bling laptop bag. It's one Redonia doesn't use and I KNEW Madeline would love it. Uncle Kent gave her a laptop a few weeks ago and she needed a bag.


The second is of some of my outreach kids. I love them all!!! They weren't too excited about posing for me. The would rather be swinging from the ceiling! lol



The third picture is of my Mom and my newest niece, Mallorie.



While I was visiting with newcomers I noticed my sister took some pics of all my lil nieces and nephew. I'm sad I don't have it for my blog. They are a great group of kids.

Tonight is our Christmas Banquet. I'll try to get pictures to post really soon. The tables are beautiful...you'll just have to come back and check out the pics. We have 10 door prizes. The entertainment is going to be great, too!

Hope each of you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season....

Merry Christmas!

PS Jewel, thanks for tagging me....I'm working on my 'list' I'll have that ready in a day or two.

What a Day!

Well I've been steadily endeavoring to mark things off my list. For some CRAZY reason today I didn't work on my list but rather added to it. I walked into my laundry room and it was cluttered. I walked into my closet and got mad....I remembered my coat closet was worse!

I tore into the coat closet - drug everything out. I decided some needed to go upstairs but where? I then went into what we call Micah's bedroom - he lived with us about 5 yrs ago! lol That room has 2 closets, yes I tackled them. I went to the upstairs bathroom and cleaned out cabinets. I went to the guest room which has 2 closets and cleaned them out. One is completely empty awaiting guests! Yes!!! I went to the upstairs linen closet and cleaned it out. I helped Redonia clean out her closet.

Redonia & I got rid of a bunch of junk. I mean piles of junk. Well actually piles of clothes. We will donate them to a favorite charity resale shop Monday. Ok here's the bad news I worked from 8 am - 5 pm without a break. Kent is diabetic and was long over due breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I had to stop before getting to my closet or laundry room. Hopefully I can organize them Monday.

During the storm Madeline fell thru our front door. The day of our horrible wreck we were actually returning from ordering a new door. It was installed today. It's really pretty! Of course it is stained mohagany and is a beautifully hand crafted leaded glass door. I love it!

Kent will tell you he worked like a 'dawg' today! He did dry clean our carpet. It looks wonderful!!! Thanks, babe, for your labor of love! lol

Miss Redonia had 2 photo shoots today. One session was a family session of a neighboring pastor and family. The other was an engagement session for a couple in our church. She is doing a great GREAT job. The past few wks she has done 2 weddings. One was a very large fabulous fall wedding. The other was a very time consuming Hispanic wedding. She loved the challenges of both settings. Of late her photography business is really really growing. The word is spreading not only her eye to take great pics but the great quality of professional prining of the portraits. Alot of people capture great photos but not all use professional printing. Redonia offers both! Another popular item for her has been the leather bound portfolios. More and more people are wanting them for their homes. Let me add she printed a BEAUTIFUL 16 x20 Bridal Portrait last month. Oh my you should have seen it framed @ the reception --- awesome!!! Sorry got side tracked!! lol Redonia asked her Dad and I to run a couple of errands tonight since her schedule was very tight. Of course we were happy to do so! She's our baby girl!!!

After dinner and coffee, Kent and I stopped by the Weldon's home where our college and career group were enjoying their Christmas party. What a great group of kids!!! Thanks David & Linda Weldon and Chris & Misti Ferguson for leading such a great group. They gave us a gift basket for Christmas. Check out Kent's blog for details....he LOVED it!!!

Trent and Calah came over late tonight. Trent was checking out somethings he didn't move. I'm pretty sure he'll never get it all...I've threatened to haul off his 'stuff'. Soon after the kids arrived Donie came in from her party. Of course all 3 piled up on the couch. Redonia and Trent miss one another. They were raised as twins since they are only 13 months apart. Calah bathed and entertained Bishop.

The house is now quiet and I just finished some much needed church 'stuff''. Tomorrow is Sunday so it's up early and off to pickup my kids for church. Actually it's already Sunday...
Tomorrow afternoon the crew and I will go immediately following church to the Convention Center to decorate for our Christmas Banquet. The banquet will be Sunday night - a first for us.
Trent, Calah, Matt & Stephen are the skit crew. I'm sure it'll be hysterically funny. They are all silly everyday!

Well, off to rest. 6:30 will be here really soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It REALLY is the MOST WONDERFUL ....

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you "Be of good cheer"
It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call
It's the hap- happiest season of all


Despite how some may have intrepreted my last post it is a happy time of the year!!!! Today went something like this....
  • I dropped Kent at the office
  • Went shopping for costume fabric
  • Picked Kent up for Sonic Lunch
  • Went shopping for staff gifts
  • Met up with Kristi and got my niece, Madeline
  • Went to the mall for a quick errand
  • Madeline wanted a cookie...yummy I had one, too!
  • Kent fixed a big pot of Creamy Taco, yummm
  • I prepared a buffet on the island using my pretty Fitz n Floyd fun pieces
  • Courtney came with oodles of table decor she bought from a wholesale for our Christmas Banquet....it's going to be beautiful!!! Thanks Sis-in-law
  • Trent and Calah came...the boys played laptops while we girls worked
  • Deadra and Megan came and helped me wrap .... awesome help, girls!!!!! You are both incredible!!!
  • We all had fun playing with Courtney's massive centerpieces
  • Redonia folded clothes --- she hates doing laundry...Thanks Redonia!
  • Kristi, Mickey, Gent & Mallorie stopped by to pick up Madeline
  • Kyleigh and Madeline played with Bishop
  • Calah and Kyleigh played like crazies!!!
  • My house is in shambles...it'll have to stay like this till Sunday. My beautifully decorated dining room was converted into a work room.

Admist all the work, we had lots of good food...I made a homemade peach cobbler. We had fruit and chocolate dip and delicious sweet breakfast blend tea. Of course Kent's Creamy Taco was awesome. We also had lots of laughs....lots of kids running and bouncing...

It really is the MOST wonderful time of the year.......

Enjoy the pics...of course there aren't pics of my photographers, Deadra & Redonia



Slideshow


Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Confession is good for the soul.....
  1. I haven't bought a single Christmas Gift - except for the Toy Drive
  2. I have NO CLUE what I'm buying most people on my 'list' -- the list of names is in my mind. Normally it's on paper
  3. In fact my husband hasn't even told me the budget......
  4. My married kids haven't cooperated and let me know what few hours I'll get for Christmas so I can plan....erggghhhhh they don't know the frustration this is causing me!
  5. I have a staff party @ our home Tuesday night. Kent and I always buy each of them a gift. I haven't bought these gifts and I don't know what I'm buying them. I shopped yesterday but I didn't see anything I liked. How do you buy for 15 people when some are young while others are older, some are married and some are single.............
  6. Sunday night is our Christmas Banquet - I hope Redonia has something to wear......I don't buy new for the banquet for me but I normally at least make sure Redonia is ok. I don't like wearing new so other's don't feel pressured to do likewise.
  7. I am in charge of selecting a tree for the sanctuary to be used for both our program and the toy drive. I'm picky about trees......haven't yet decided if it will be real or artificial!
  8. I was given the 09 church calendar yesterday to proof...hummmm I only proofed the month of January. Yes, I KNOW Deadra you need it back soon.
  9. I have about a dozen more toy drive gifts to wrap....I have 60 stockings to fill.....
  10. My Mom keeps hinting - no telling - well maybe strongly suggesting that when she gets back from Gatlinburg she would love to walk into her home and find her Christmas Tree decorated --- it's not!
  11. My Mother in Law has asked that each family present her with an 8x10 landscape family portrait for Christmas. Well, my daughter is our photographer but guess what she has 3 sessions Saturday so no time for us. She's in college at night and when it's not college its play practice, children's choir, sign team, etc all crammed in the other 2 nights. I suggested we take them Sunday then Kent reminded me that will not work because of our banquet.....
  12. My thank you's aren't complete for Pastor's Appreciation and now it's time for Christmas Cards. I will not distribute Christmas Cards until I finish my first obligation.......

I've been busy but I can see by the growing list I have not been busy enough. I'm thinking I need to sleep from 2 am - 5 am just so I can finish my list....My house will be ripped apart for the banquet on Sunday then it must be put back together for the staff party Tuesday night. I always get the ladies to help decorate for the Christmas banquet but didn't feel comfortable since it's on a Sunday night this year. When would they do it???? So my girls, Deadra, and Courtney will help me. You know the ones that I just keep stretching and stretching! lol I have enough 'Christmas' to decorate all the tables but I'm doing only 4 or 5 of them and the others girls will do the rest!

Next week it's the staff party on Tuesday night @ our home. I LOVE cooking and preparing for it. I endeavor to convert our home into a banquet hall. Everyone has a great time! Then it's off to get ready for the Christmas Program. My responsbility is the tree...well today I've been asked to go and get some more fabric for costumes.....I don't sew so we'll see how that works out! lol

Then it's getting ready for "ALL" yes I did mean "ALL" the CUPC ladies 18 and older to come to our home for a Christmas party. I prepare soup, salad, and desserts. Normally I get a few ladies to bring a dessert which sure helps me!!! We've really outgrown the 3900 sq ft I have but we'll make it one more year!! I think most ladies would be frustrated if it wasn't here. The stairs becomes stadium seats and every inch of floor space will be filled with decorated card tables and chairs. It's pretty...loud...and FUN>>>>>>>complete with another tree added to the living room for the ornament exchange. I have a pre-lit tree and as the ladies arrive they trim the tree. At the end of the night we do an ornament exchange on the order of the Chinese Gift Exchange Game....fun and crazy!!!

Ok, it really is the MOST wonderful time of the year in fact I've been enjoying the 'wonder' so much that I've not done some of the necessities....I've been caught up in the Mary/Martha syndrome....I better switch characters are NOTHING will ever be finished.........

It really is the most wonderful time of the year.....I have to be out and about today who can I find to share holiday cheer with????? Who can I invite to church...who can I give a little extra tip to?? Who can I share a 'hand up' with???? It's the MOST wonderful time of the year...who can I help make sure is having a MOST wonderful time......

Love you all.....oh by the way don't worry about me the list will get done....it always does.....I just don't need to do the 2 - 5 sleep routine or my enemy Mr. Seizure will return....Thank the Lord I've been seizure free for 1 year!!!!!!!!!!!!! It really is the MOST wonderful time of the year!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Compassionate People Exist

CUPC is in full swing of our Toy Drive for 30 outreach children. All the gifts have either been bought or have been spoken for. What a miracle!!!! I'm glad to be apart of a compassionate church.

Today I decided that no Christmas is complete without stockings. My kids love digging thru their stockings. I want all my outreach babies to have that same fun experience. I also decided that every CUPC child present on Sunday, December 21st will receive a stocking. Of course this will be alot of stockings!!!

Dollar Tree seemed to be a logical starting place to find stockings and filler. I found the cutest stockings and lots of great loot. All my babies are going to LOVE their stockings. I had a shopping cart full and even had to carry some items. Once I was @ the checkout I had an awesome experience.

Shopper: (she softly smiled) Are you a school teacher
Me: No Mam, I'm a pastor's wife
Shopper: That's a much higher calling of career
Me: Well, thank you I feel honored to be a pastor's wife
Shopper: I assumed you were a teacher with all the stockings, candy & toys you are buying
Me: I am purchasing these for a Toy Drive and for all the children of our church
Shopper: So they are for needy children primarily
Me: Yes they are. They are for some children that we take to church every Sunday.
Shopper: (with tears in her eyes) What a worthy project! I pray God blesses you.
Me: Thank you. I'm just blessed to know these children and their families
Shopper: (with tears in her eyes) Will you pray for me the next few weeks?
Me: I certainly will.
Shopper: My grandson passed away about 3 months ago.
Me: (with tears in my eyes) I'm so sorry. I sincerely will pray for you.
Shopper: (to cashier who is now finished with shoppers transaction and has begun scanning my approximate 150 items) I would like for you to ring these items for me. (shopper counts out 20 items of mine)
Me: How kind and thoughtful of you!
Shopper: I can't buy toys or gifts for my grandson so I would like to do this for your special children in his honor.
Me: (with tears streaming) Mam I pray God will comfort you during this season. I know your kindness today will never take the place of buying for your Grandson but I know that God will comfort you.
Shopper: Where is your church located?
Me: (gave her directions & address) We are giving the toys and stockings on Sunday, December 21st @ 10 am. I will be most honored if you can attend.

I am embarrased to say that I didn't give my name nor get the name of this sweet lady. The conversation transpired so quickly. It was so emotional that I did not operate as I normally do.

Christmas is about God, friends, family, & food BUT I KNOW Christmas is about sharing with others. THANK YOU my sweet Dollar Tree shopping buddy!

Though I'm sharing with all my 'little crazies' my Dollar Tree friend has made me want to give to someone I don't know. Someone whom I may never see again. Someone I can simply share the love of Jesus Christ with.

Thank God for compassionate people....I want to become one!

Christmas is for Friends


Christmas is a time for sharing with friends. I enjoy being with people I may not necessarily be able to spend quality time with otherwise. I LOVE my decorated home and I LOVE giving gifts. I'm honest I enjoy receiving gifts, too. The BEST part about Christmas is I am able to spend time with others.

Last night was our annual Section 9 Christmas Banquet. Karen & Steve Wehrle served as hosts. The banquet hall was decorated very pretty. Our friend Greg Frazier from Starks Louisianna was the guest speaker. The food was very tasty. The best part of the banquet, however, was spending time with friends.

The minister's wives from CUPC rode with me. We enjoyed laughing and talking during our travels. Crazy Victor Alba gave us much to laugh about on our way home. The napkins were paper leporad print. He ever so gently tore a pair of panties from his napkin...YES he did!!! He presented his creation to Trent. Trent showed them to Sis. Wehrle and suggested them for a door prize. It was all done in good fun...so if you weren't there don't knock the humor. On our way back to CUPC I called Sis. Alba. Sis. Alba was unable to attend. She is spending time with her Mom who is battling cancer. We all laughed and jested that next time she shouldn't let Bro. A go out in public without her. Laughter really does do us good!

At the banquet we sat with our LONG time friends Jeff & Wynette Sherry. Wynette was in our wedding. Though time and distance has kept us separated when we are together it's like we never missed a minute. I love my friends!

As the banquet was beginning I noticed and elderly minister and wife sitting at a table alone. Though our table was full I asked everyone to squeeze in. We then moved place settings and had the Haynes join us. Though none of us really knew the Hayes it was good to become more acquainted with them. Christmas isn't a time for being alone! Find ways to include others. Why stay with your normal 'group'? Include others and share your holiday cheer.

I enjoyed brief moments of sharing a laugh, hug, or exchanging a brief conversation. Again, I LOVE my friends. Yes, some are more of an acquaintance but I BELIEVE they are my friends. They are friends, I just haven't had the opportunity to spend enough time with.

It's Chrismas! Christmas gives us many opportunities to visit with others. Make special efforts to attend holiday gatherings. It's easy to say we are too busy or we can't afford to attend but I believe that visiting with others is the best gift we can GIVE. Really it's the greatest gift I can RECEIVE during Christmas. Why feel that family gatherings should suffice? Venture out find time to share with others. I have had 2 opportunities the past 2 days....I'm going to be looking for more!

If you are planning gatherings. I trust Charming Hospitality will give you some great ideas. Go there and check it out. Today I have posted an assortment of beverages.

Cheers & Blessing to You!!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunday

I LOVE Sundays. In fact Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It's on Sunday that I arrive at the church around 8:45 am. I GET to go on the van route, get to talk with some of the parent's of my outreach kids, get to catch up on the happenings of my 'lil 'crazies', get to go to church and worship, and get to take my babies home. Most Sunday's I squeeze in a good long nap. Then I return to church for the evening service. After service I unwind after a fulfilling day.

TODAY my afternoon schedule was altered. I decided to prepare soup, salad, and desserts for Rick & Stacy Perry, metro missionaries, and some of the ministry families of CUPC. Hence I didn't have time for a nap.

Our outreach efforts were great this morning. Both services were good. The past few Sunday nights have turned to worship/prayer services. Tonight the service was conducive to preaching. I enjoy preaching, too!

Tomorrow I will post my menu from tonight's fellowhsip at our home on Charming Hospitality. Sleep has finally come upon me. I truly hope each of you enjoy a blessed week.

Love you all....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

THANK YOU

Wednesday following Election Day while teaching a Bible Study one of the secretaries buzzed Kent's office to inform him I had a phone call. Being a great husband he attempted to help my caller, someone who knows me only through the blog.

The caller identified herself and mentioned (he thinks) she is from Oklahoma. Who knows she maybe from Spain since he didn't recall the name. She proceeded to inform Kent the blog had been a blessing to her. She needed my mailing address for a magazine subscription she was about to order for me. Last week I received a little card from "Southern Lady" stating a gift subscription was ordered for me from Sue Davidson. Sue, I would have preferred thanking you via a thank you note. However, the subscription card didn't include your mailing address. Since I don't know you I can't begin to figure out where you live...Spain, Oklahoma, Alaska, etc.

I did receive my first copy of the magazine Wednesday. Of course Redonia was sick and between her doctor's appointment and caring for her I did some holiday baking. I have not had 5 minutes to browse the magazine. I ADORE the cover and will savor it's pages. Maybe this afternoon I can enjoy it!

Again, Sue, THANK YOU for thinking of me. I am a Southern Girl and will LOVE "Southern Lady"!!!! Certainly, I'll find great ideas to share on Charming Hospitality.

Friday, November 28, 2008

& Moving Right Along.....

Before I move right along.....I would like to say what a blessed day Kent and I enjoyed yesterday. A good Thanksgiving is a day spent enjoying food, family and FRIENDS. I did take my camera to Lufkin but failed to take a picture. But please do check out one of my friend's site. We are glad we had the journalist there! (teasing, Sis. Elms)

Our day started out thankful that Redonia is better. After an hour or less of volunteering @ the Salvation Army she discovered she was much to weak. She called crying that she was unable to drive herself to volunteer or even drive. She slept the entire trip to Lufkin. By the time we arrived she was able to sit up and enjoy her computer...I mean enjoy the day! ha Please do continue to pray for her.

Calah was a wonderful cook. She made twice baked potatoes and a cherry cheesecake that was a big hit! Of course we had lots and lots of good food. I am proud of my daughter in law! I am thankful she wanted to contribute to the feast. Trent and Myron were too subdued. They didn't give the Elms a trul glimpse of a Smith Holiday.

Mamaw and Papaw are always wonderful hosts. We enjoyed our time with them and Myron, Kim, and Jackson. Gavin was at the deer lease with his other Papaw. Sharla called while we were eating. We all MISS Sharla. She lives in Florida and we don't see her and her sweet little family often enough.

As I said a good holiday is one spent with friends. We were blessed to be joined by our friends, Bro. & Sis. Wendell Elms and Dede, Cherish, & Hunter Cooley. Dede is my Thanksgiving sister in law! This was our 2nd year to have them apart of our day. Bro. Cooley is a mighty hunter and he spends Thanksgiving at the lease.

After traveling home we visited my Mom and Popsie. Karen & Jake; Carla; Jared; Scott, Courtney & Kyleigh; Megan; and Tootsie all joined us there. Of course Jake and Kyleigh were the center of attention. Kyleigh loved Bishop and Jake did not. What a show it was!

This morning if I can get Mr. Slowpoke moving I am ready to 'hit' the sales. This year I'm not shopping for my family but rather my outreach babies. I have money donated to me to buy gifts for these sweet children. Many of them are from at risk homes. CUPC is making a HUGE difference in their lives. We are going to have an incredible Christmas the Sunday morning prior to Christmas.

Can you believe it is already Christmas '08? We really are moving right along....

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for many things. In fact too many to list. Allow me to summarize a few things:
  • God - I want to keep Him my priority.
  • My husband, my friend of 26.5 years. I LOVE being his wife! He's a great husband, dad, & pastor.
  • My daughter - a gift from God. She's most compassionate & talented. She finds ways to serve others EVERY day. Today its @ Salvation Army - feeding the hungry.
  • My son - a miracle child. An incredible help to us. He's full of leadership, life and laughter.
  • My daughter-in-law. She adores our son and fits our family. She's a homemaker.
  • My parents - all 3 of them.
  • My family - way too many to name,
  • Kent's parents - they gave me my BEST gift.
  • Kent's family - again too many to name.
  • CUPC Family - what a church!
  • All my outreach babies and their families.
  • The health of my family - (Redonia is even better today)
  • My many friends - the coming year I hope to make even more new friends

While there are many other things that I have to be thankful for this list just summarizes most of them. I can't imagine life without any of the people I listed. Well, Dad isn't here today but I do have him with me. He will always be in my heart. For some reason every single holiday my thoughts still go to him.

I hope where ever your holiday plans take you today, you will find joy in the presence of those you love. Kent and I are traveling to Lufkin and will enjoy time with his parents, our family, and Myron and his family. I'm sure there maybe a guest or two, also.

Happy Thanksgiving, may your day be blessed!!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Redonia Update

Redonia is still very sick. She has vomited very severly all day. After a shot that should have made her sleep for 8 hours she still continued to wake up vomiting. After another consult I was told to give her Phenegran. If she is sick again during the next four hours we will have to take her to the hospital for admittance. Redonia has battled severe pain and complications for the past 7 years. Today she was found to be dehydrated and anemic. We are going to a specialist in a couple of weeks. She will probably require surgery according to the doctor today. This is something we have resisted for several years. During the appointment today Redonia told the doctor the pain has been almost constant for about 6 months. She said most days it is dull and nagging but at times it is very sharp and long lasting. Kent and I have been concerned knowing Redonia isn't doing well for a few months. Of course when we mention taking her to the doctor she fusses. Today I asked if she was ready and she said, "See if you can take me today!"

Please keep Redonia in your prayers. We know God can perform the work that is needed in her body. Hopefully we will be able to continue with our holiday plans tomorrow. If not we will still have a thankful day. God has always proven to be faithful to our family.

Our Wednesday

What an incredible Thanksgiving Service last night! The presence of the Lord was sweet yet strong. Every song seemed perfect. Then each speaker spoke with passion about things they were grateful for. Each person shared their thankfulness for God, their family, and our incredible church. Several speakers were new this year to CUPC. These newcomers spoke of the warmth and friendliness of the church family. This has truly been something Kent and I have fought to achieve. We felt rewarded with the kind words of the speakers.

This morning Kent and I were priviledged to be apart of honoring the short life of little Kenzie. Please keep Letha and Brandon in your prayers. The graveside was a very special occasion. Mom and Dad planned a most beautiful day for their sweet baby girl.

Today my baby girl is very sick. Kent and I are about to take her to the doctor. It doesn't matter if she is 22; she is our baby! I appreciate your prayers for Redonia. She has had an ongoing health issue. We aren't sure if this is related or not. Ok..she's ready to go....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Busy but Thankful

Ever noticed when you need lots of time you tend to be pushed for it? Oh, well just the life of Kent and Tracie Smith. We are good and seem to function in our crazy world.

Yesterday we knew we had several challenges ahead of us. Did we reach them all? No... This is just a little glimpse of how you know things may get crazy:

We both had appointments for x-rays at River Oaks Imaging. Just before leaving the house an appointment clerk called to inform us that our appointments didn't allow enough time for all the doctor ordered. She rescheduled Kent's for the morning and left mine for the afternoon. She kept insisting that we must be there 30 minutes early to fill out paperwork. River Oaks boasts they accept walk-ins so I decided when we arrived with Kent I would see if they could 'work me in'. When I signed Kent in I asked if they could do my imaging, too. Of course they would be happy to reported the receptionist. Well after 50 minutes we still weren't given the 'paper work'. There were only 4 or 5 people waiting in the large waiting room. Finally someone arriving after us was given her chart to fill out. The staff was enjoying visiting a little too much. Finally, Kent went and asked about the 'paper work' that we arrived 30 minutes early to complete. He was told they were really busy! lol After a few more minutes Kent went back to the desk and told the receptionist he was really busy, too and when they had time for us they could call and reschedule. Much to our surprise they still haven't called us! lol

Kent is having some crazy complications which are probably wreck related. He was getting this tingling feeling in his feet now he is getting a shock sensation in his hands. For some reason we were both more sore yesterday than we've been. We hope to get appointements with the chiropractor today.

Today is Conroe Christian School's annual Thanksgiving feast. I was asked to cook the ham. This morning I baked two hams and Kent carved them. No spiral sliced for me. They just aren't as good. I prefer butt portion hams. I bake them slow and on a low temperature. Rather than baking them with brown sugar I poured Dr Pepper over them. They are soooooooo good!!!

Tonight will be our annual Thanksgiving service. Last night Kent and I made a yummy snack that we will distribute to everyone. It's a new fall snack mix recipe that I have recently discovered. It was basically easy. Of course bagging a million (not really!) bags was a little time consuming. This afternoon I will finish by adding fallish ribbons. We love our church family and like to express our love and appreciation to each of them. Tonight we have a great service planned. Trent has found a great moving worship presentation. It is really awesome! Misti Ferguson will sing and we have several testimonials. We endeavor to use people that are not the upfront kind. This year each speaker will do a superb job. This is truly one of my most favorite services of the year. It is so moving to hear others share reasons they are thankful.

Tomorrow we participate in the graveside of 7 day old little Kenzie. We are thankful we had time to love and hold this sweet bundle of joy. Please pray for her Mommy, Daddy and two sisters. I know this will be a most difficult Thanksgiving. Several ladies from our church are going overboard preparing a wonderful meal for this family. We hope to show our thankfulness to them for allowing us to be apart of their lives.

Tomorrow afternoon I will do my traditional baking. Yes, I'm running a little late but that's ok. I know everything will turn out just fine. It always does!

I hope each of you enjoy a blessed thankful week!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catching Up....

We've been busy. What's new? Aren't you all busy?

Friday we got Bishop Smith. He's such a cute little puppy. He is VERY VERY VERY spoiled. Redonia and Kent have taken turns taking care of him in the night. He crys and crys at bedtime. Around 4:30 am he has to potty. Then he sleeps on the couch with Redonia or in the recliner with Kent. I don't like the doggy in the bed thing! lol He adores Madeline and goes crazy for her to hold him. Once she picks him up he is like a baby and snuggles up to her. Redonia has already taught him to fetch using a little plastic cap from a can of hair mousse. He is the cutest thing chasing the cap and taking it back to Redonia.

Saturday we met Mamaw and and Papaw for lunch. Then we went to Kaylon and Ben's wedding. It was really pretty. Redonia was the photographer. She does such an awesome job. You should see the many engagement and bridal pictures that was on display. Redonia, Dad and I are proud of your talents!

Saturday evening was Rejoice. We enjoyed a very sweet presence of the Lord during this prayer time. I KNEW our services would be incredible today. We had 24 children on our van route today. We only have one 15 passenger van. Of course we have a drive and a helper. So really only 13 children can ride the van. The other children ride in whatever vehicles I can gather up to help. PLEASE help me pray for a school bus. Currently it isn't in the budget to purchase a bus. I KNOW God is a provider and I'm just going to trust Him. He knows the desires of my heart and I believe He is going to provide. I don't have any idea what one will cost. I do know that I am asking God to provide this important need. If I had more space I could take more children to church. Please join me in prayer for God to provide the need for a school bus.

This afternoon little Kenzie passed away. It was such a miracle for her to survive for seven days. The doctors were in total amazement. Kenzie's parents are thankful for the time they had with her. She passed away in her living room with her parents and both grandmothers at her side. Please pray for this sweet family. Kenzie's funeral will be Wednesday. I know my husband will do an awesome job helping this family honor the memory of their beautiful angel. Kenzie will always have a most special place in my heart.

Tonight we had a wonderful service. From the very beginning you could just feel something special about the service. Many people felt a special touch from God. There was much rejoicing and even later a very sweet deep presence of God. I love this type of service. Trent was very sensitive as he lead the service. Bro. Ferguson, I wanted to hear you preach. You can just work on the sermon a little while longer, I guess!

This week will be very busy. My schedule is quite full. I know I have several hours of work in the kitchen. I really need to decorate for Christmas, too. I just don't know when I will get that worked in the schedule. I hope each of you enjoy a blessed and thankful week. I have a few good recipes to share on Charming Hospitality. If I don't post here I have a few things ready to post at my fun site! Remember, if you have guests the next few days.....make them welcome! Nothing can equal quality time spent with those you love.

Blessings to you and yours~

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Poor Little Car & the Big Bad Truck

We were minding our business driving down the Tollway about 5 mph when a big old 90 something model Ford pick up plowed into us. I was holding a large Sonic Cherry Limeade. You guessed it.....

Kent saw the guy coming and SCREAAAAAMED, "JESUS!" Kent pulled to the shoulder to avoid the impact as the guy pulled to the shoulder to avoid us and BAAAAMMMM CRRRRRRRRASH he hit us.

Thank the Lord we are ok. Kent and I are very sore with achy backs, necks, and legs. My poor little car will never be the same! The seats, dash, carpet, seat belts, and doors are all covered in my red drink.

My clothes were drenched in red sticky drink. My cell phone is a sticky mess. My new Dooney & Bourke Purse is filled with the drink, too. I've been needing a new wallet....I guess it will be a necessity now.

The truck was so big compared to our car. Thank the Lord for being with us. Apparently our car lifted from the ground because there is an imprint of the car ontop of the truck's hood. That's scarey......

We are grateful that things aren't worse than they are. Pray these 'old' bodies can move about tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reasons to Go to Heaven

Daddy
Papaw Ingram
Mamaw Ingram
and lots of other friends & family

Last evening I was visiting with my step-dad. He's retired but works at a funeral home part-time. He was mentioning that they are really busy. We talked about this time of the year seems to have lots of deaths.

It just doesn't seem right that in the midst of holidays we experience death, grieving, and loss. I feel for those families who may be grieving this year. I know joy will come again. Sure you will have those moments but some how joy returns.

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my Mother-in-law. We began looking thru pics. I found a beautiful picture of Sharla on her wedding day with Grandma Baldree. Grandma was such a precious lady. Immediately big tears came to my Mother-in-law's eyes as she placed the picture near her heart. Later she laughed that she is like Grandma because with different pics came different moanings and utterances. You know the ooohhhs, ahhhhhh, & awwwww's. She said Grandma struggled when seeing some pics just remembering people and their situations.

I love pics, love memories, and am thankful for such a heritage....it just gives me MORE reasons to go to Heaven as if Jesus wasn't enough!!!! Yes, HE is but all the other people are worth it, too.

Check out a gorgeous picture of Mamaw Ingram on Charming Hospitality She was a true Christian. She lived to be over 90 years old.....she was a praying lady. She loved the kitchen (whistled as she worked), sewed, quilted, played the piano, loved southern gospel music, loved preachers, was a bookkeeper, and adored her family. I think I was her favorite!!!!! That's not nice is it???? Oh by the way Mom has 2 of her Christmas cactus. They are in full bloom!!!! I LOVE keeping her alive.....

I'm pretty sure nothing will separate me from heaven....I have too many reasons to miss out!