Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Carols

Sisters Deanna and Kari.

For about five years now two musically gifted young ladies in our church, Kari and Emmy, organize a Christmas musical program that has become one of our Christmas tradition highlights. There are many hours of planning and practicing that go into this wonderful and memorable evening. This year our granddaughter, Ashley, was asked to sing The First Noel. Kari and Emmy have a knack for including various singers, instrumentalists and a variety of Christmas songs. Each year boasts a special flare all its own. Thanks, Kari and Emmy and each performer, we do not take for granted all you do to make this such a blessing to each and every one of us!!

Matt singing...Kari and Jason in the background.

Group performing.

Daddy Tim and son Adam singing a duet (so cute)

Ashley singing The First Noel.

Sisters Amber and Ashley.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Williamsburg, Virginia

When we moved to Virginia in 1984 we spent our first family vacation in Williamsburg, VA in July to celebrate Independence Day. We have gone often for many, many years usually in December or February. There are less tourists in February if you desire a slower pace. We have seen it grow leaps and bounds since our first stay there. We can tell you all the best places to shop and dine and which hotels are the best.

One of our favorite things to do is to visit the candlelight concerts in the Bruton Parish. They take up an offering but basically there is no charge to attend. Of course we visit "our" candy shop and get our favorite almond bark. We go through the many shops and leisurely stroll down the colonial streets.

We would highly recommend this area for your family vacation or a couple's get-a-way retreat. You won't come away disappointed!

This huge Yankee Candle store has something for everyone...even "snow" falling.

The quaint little town of colonial Williamsburg decorated for Christmas.

In the colonial days parishiners sat in these cubicles during church.

Our balcony spot looking on to the opposite balcony.

We always buy white and dark chocolate almond bark at this candy store!

They don't make church doors like they use to :)

Looking down from Bruton Parish balcony

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gingerbread House Creations

Our grandchildren have had a tradition of decorating gingerbread houses every Thanksgiving night for many years now. They are quite creative and individual in their style of decorating. This year most of them came up with their own design which they cut from cardboard and put the gingerbread pieces on with icing. They invited both sets of grandparents so we could see all the action. One of my favorite parts is eating the candy while I watch and they have LOTS of candy to decorate with!
Enjoy the pictures!
Nanny Judy

Let the gingerbread house tradition continue!!!

Busy gingerbread builders.

Ashley working on her gingerbread house.

Ashley's completed gingerbread house.

Tyler working on his gingerbread house.

Tyler calling in reinforcements from Mom :)

Tyler's completed gingerbread house.

Amber working on her gingerbread barn :)

Amber's completed gingerbread barn.

Trent's gingerbread castle even has a mote.

Trent's gingerbread castle.

Trey and his gingerbread house...check out the 'smoke' coming from the chimney :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

What a wonderful Thanksgiving day our family had. We had 15 for dinner and everyone brought something to contribute. We arranged the living room to fit 3 tables so we could all sit together. As always there was a variety of foods. I am so thankful for our family whom we love very much. We had a good time laughing at funny stories, the kids played our doors for awhile and we ended the day exhausted but content. Thank you Dear Lord most of all for our family!!! We are so blessed!

Thankful for the table finally set and ready!

Thankful for a bountiful table!

Thankful for lots of coffee!

Thankful for family (view 1)

Thankful for family (view 2)

Thankful for dessert time!

Thankful for guys not afraid to run a vacuum cleaner ( Larry and Donn)

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Beloved and Best Friend

"Happy Forty-first Anniversary to my beloved, best friend." I can honestly say that with all sincerity. Just yesterday a lady asked me how Larry and I met. Little did she realize the next day we would be celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary. Well, we were blind dates and had common friends who humanly brought us together. Larry was going off to basic training for the Army National Guard shortly after our meeting so they were having a going away party for him along with a welcome home party for their brother.

One of the first attributes he displayed was sincere friendliness. An attribute that I have witnessed all these years that draws people to him like a magnet. He REALLY wants to KNOW about you!

Well, he left for boot camp and he wrote me many letters. I felt really guilty not writing him very much in the beginning, but that changed and we got to know each other through our letters. He wrote in one of his letters that he was going to marry me when he came home. I figured all military guys said that in letters to the girls back home. I should have taken him at his word because that is exactly what he did!

I fell in love not only with him but his whole family, too. I could sense the love they had for each other the minute I stepped in their home and they extended to me that love wholeheartedly.

Honestly we didn't do everything right. But we believed we had everything you would want. Love, a son and daughter, a good paying job, our dream house, excellent health, etc.

Then one day, about 10 years into our marriage, Larry came home from work and he was different, spiritually. A man had witnessed to him about God's forgiveness of sin through His Son Jesus Christ and all he had to do was repent of his sin and receive Jesus as his personal LORD and Saviour. Larry did that and was changed. He tried to tell me the best he could what had happened. Needless to say I realized I didn't have the saving faith he did. I was trusting on the fact I was a "good" person. I really wanted to know what a "Born Again" Christian was. The LORD was so gracious with me letting me "find" a Gospel tract left on a grocery shelf at the store I often shopped at. The LORD also used a Christian TV show to hear many testimonies from others who had become Christians. Quietly in my home one day I realized I was a sinner and Christ died on the cross for my sins. I agreed with Him that I was a sinner needing His saving grace and asked Him to save me. There were no bells or whistles or bright lights or any thing strange that happened. All I did was believe on His finished work on the Cross and His resurrection for me. He has allowed spiritual fruit to be produced in my life...things I couldn't have done on my own. He gets all the glory and honor and praise.

Now we had what really mattered in our relationship. We are so blessed even though things aren't always "perfect." The difference is The Perfect One is the head of our life and our home.

Forty-one years is a long time and there has been a lot of changes physically to this couple but the one thing that changes not is our Heavenly Father. He has been so good to us. Is He your Heavenly Father? Sure hope so :)

Starting our walk...1968

Continuing our walk...2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nosey Situations

Last Wednesday started out normal enough until I blew my nose which started bleeding. I've had nose bleeds in my life and a bad one about 9 years ago. This was another bad one. I immediately laid back down which later I found out was not the best thing to do. My husband came up stairs to give me my coffee ( I'm spoiled, I know) and he found me holding tissues on my nose. I'm sure that was the last thing he thought he would find. A normal day turned abnormal rapidly.

Just to give some information on my husband if you don't know him very well... he doesn't do blood. Don't talk about it or show him any. After our son was born (before they let dad's in the delivery room, which was fine with him anyways) a nurse came in just to find a vein by tapping my arm... he had to leave the room. He fainted and tumbled to the floor at the doctor's office when they drew his blood in the past, ( he tried to warn the nurse.) Now the ironic thing is since he is a pastor and has to view some pretty awful hospital scenes for some of our church people...he can do that by God's grace!

After about an hour and no let up on my "situation" our daughter showed up and pretty much took over. She told her Dad he better call the doctor and see if they will take me. Fortunately, they told him to bring me in.

God's grace was really poured out on me as I walked in the waiting room holding a gob of tissue on my nose. (My husband made the statement about taking by picture for our blog, aren't you glad he was kidding?!!) I am very shy and I prefer being in the background but that's impossible sitting among strangers in the waiting room. I can honestly say I received His grace during a humbling scenario.

When I was able to get a room my husband quietly exited knowing I was in good hands with our daughter and medical staff. Praise the Lord the bleeding had stopped and the doctor gave me instructions for future nosebleeds... Spray nose with Afrin and insert cotton ball, sit up with head tilted forward and pinch nose for 15 mins.

I'll leave out the gory details only stating my stomach took a turn for the worse once I got in the car and my poor husband found himself having to cope with another very unfortunate situation. Our daughter was still with us so she and he got us all through it.

We were all so glad to get home, clean up and try and forget how things can change in a moment.

So I don't have to wonder if I have anything to praise the Lord for this Thanksgiving :) I felt loved and cared for by a wonderful husband, daughter and great medical staff.

The diagnosis was probably dry air with our house heat running so my husband purchased a larger humidifier...immediately. So far so good!

Sorry this was such a gross post! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Camping Adventures Finale

Here are our last camping pictures to give you an idea of our last day. Most of the weather we experienced on our camping adventure was cold, wet, or cold and wet. We still had a good time with our friends. We decided to have our last meal in Dan and Diana's beautiful camper. It was warm, luxurious and had electricity!! We enjoyed a breakfast of eggs, pancakes, bacon, and beverages. Of course this was the last day and wouldn't you know...the sun was starting to shine :) Better late than never :)
Maybe it was a good time to go since Dan said he saw fresh bear droppings on his morning walk!!! Yikes that's beary scary to hear.
So with eating alligator, hearing of a bear that had been close by I suppose you could say our camping experience was quite an adventure.
Happy trails to you!!!

The Summers "Camper" where we had a terrific breakfast.

"Hostess Diana" and "Host Dan" sharing their lovely home on wheels with us.

Sherry, one of our short order cooks, flipping pancakes!

Larry and Amber.

Donn and Sherry enjoying their meal.

The gang waiting to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Camping Adventures Part 4

Our last day and night of camping found us having a good time with some dear people, 13 total. Dan had just returned from a week in Florida, alligator hunting. He actually got one that was @60 years old. He had some pretty impressive pictures to show us and he brought some alligator meat to cook up. Most of us ate a piece. I found it to be bland and very tough and chewy and it didn't taste like chicken :) I can now say I ate alligator meat!
The next post of our camping adventure will be the last one so stay tuned.

Dan and Diana arrived on Friday evening.

Bountiful picnic dinner and lots of hot coffee and hot cider.

Tailgate desserts.

Last night around the campfire. Dinner, desserts, s'mores and sweet fellowship.

Pretty leaf!

Sauted Alligator!

Larry's alligator back scratcher souvenir.

Larry and Judy's cabin.

Donn, Sherry, Ashley, Tyler, Amber, Trent and Trey in front of their cabin

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”

(This article was written in October 2005 but it seemed appropriate to post is again today.)

As we approach VETERNS DAY this year it has a special significance for me. This year I will not be able to thank my dad for his service to our country in WW II. But that sacrifice will never be forgotten.

They say the first rule of war is that young men and women die. The second rule of war is that surgeons cannot change the first rule. In the current war being waged in Iraq we have now seen two thousand of our troops pay the last full measure. Many others have been injured and the whole thing breaks my heart. To quote another article I recently read, “I think the third rule of war should be that those who have given their all for freedom are never forgotten, and that they are always honored.” I couldn’t agree more!

I wish there was not war and I wish our young people did not have to fight and die. But you and I cannot wish away evil men. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that there are cold blooded killers who hate our country and our freedoms. They want to kill you, me and everyone we love and hold dear because we do not embrace their false god. You can not negotiate or reason with these types of evil men. I wish the situation were different but I believe we either fight these terrorists over there in their home land or we will be fighting them here in our communities like the attacks of September 11.

America has two choices. We can run from the threat or deny it exists. We can debate it and hope it goes away but it won’t. Our second choice is to do what our President has done and send our troops to crush these evil men where they live. We must not grow weary in well doing. The last thing we need is a debate about an exit strategy. Thank God there was no exit strategy after the Battle of the Bulge or Iwo Jima. I am grateful there was no timetable for withdrawal at Valley Forge. Freedom isn’t easy and as we are reminded daily by the media, freedom isn’t free. It comes at a terrible price.

On Veteran’s Day the least we can do is remember. We can at least find some way of saying thank you to a veteran or a Veteran’s family. We can take some time and pray for those who are currently serving. We can pray for our President. And we can thank God for the freedoms we are blessed with in this nation.

There was an even greater battle waged some two thousand years ago over the souls of men. Thank God, God didn’t have an exit strategy plan for His Son Jesus Christ. In stead Jesus paid the last full measure for you and for me. (It is finished was His cry) No exit rather a sacrifice once and for all that would open the way to freedom for all who would repent and believe. When a solider lays down his life and sheds his blood for our freedom he is a reflection of the Savior. The least we can do is pray for our troops and honor the Veteran’s who have served so valiantly through the years. Thank you dad, thank you Roy, thank you Charles, thank you Dick, thank you Ed, thank you . . . , thank you . . . , thank you . . . And Lord, thank you for letting me live in such a country.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Camping Adventures Part 3

I guess every camping adventure has a story or two. The first one was us locking the car keys in the house. The next little mishap happened to the Lawrie's camper. As the worker of the campground was leading Gregg to his happened. A tree had an "encounter" with the Lawrie awning. So it had to be taken off before they could travel home. Of course that didn't exactly go smoothly when Gregg fell off the picnic table he was standing on. He was ok, thankfully. Oh well, camping life has it's ups and downs :)

More pictures to come in the near future from Misty Mountain Campground outside of Charlottesville, VA.

Gregg removing the damaged awning.

Modern day laptop camper :)

Sherry cooking up lunch.

Lunch time!

Who's cold?

Amber and Trent...true out door's siblings.