Friday, December 24, 2010

Baking Extravaganza

I cant believe that Christmas is already here! Whitney and I having been baking up a storm over the past three days. We are headed to Smithville to spend Christmas with my side of the family. I think I heard that there will be 38 people there!! Whew! I think there are plenty of goodies to go around. Ray's about to get the chex mix finished and then we'll be loading up the car and getting on the road! God's blessings and safe travels to everyone!

Sausage Cheese Bites:

Bakerella's Cake Pops:

Cream Cheese Cookies:

Sugar Cookies:

Whitney and Ben decorating
Merry Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Time to do the Baking!!!

I think Whitney and I pretty much finished our Christmas shopping today! Yay!!! I'm sure we'll think of a few more things we need to run to Target for, but it sure is a good feeling to kind of be finished! Now it's time to get busy in the kitchen!

First I'm going to make sausage/cheese balls. It's one of the things Mom always made. They're really yummy, and the recipe makes a ton so I don't have to worry that we'll eat them up before we head out of town for the big day! Next I'll do some cream cheese cookies. Have you ever had anything with cream cheese in it that was not delicious? Lynn gave me this recipe years ago, and last year I discovered the dough was a pretty good consistency to go in the cookie press. So now I add a few drops of green food coloring and start shooting Christmas trees onto the cookie sheet! Makes a lot and they're really good with a cup of coffee! Then we'll make a batch of chex mix! Ray likes to use his mom's recipe and most years he makes it! His annual cooking event. Ha! It doesn't hurt that it's his favorite snack either! I usually save the sugar cookies for last because they are the ones we have the most trouble not eating up as quick as we can! Whitney has turned into a gourmet chef. She amazes me in the kitchen, and loves to cook. She has some really cute cake pops picked out to make! Here we go! Recipes to come!

Next month we'll work on diet plans!

Monday, December 6, 2010

We Wish you a Merry Christmas!!!

Maybe we'll dine in here. Usually Pokey is the only one who brings her food in this room!

The living room. A good spot to read by the fire. Nana you need to come back, your chair is waiting!
The big tree. Tried to copy a tree I found on Traditional
Whitney helped me do the snowman room when she was home. My little girl has turned into Martha Stewart.
God bless you with a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and remind you of the hope we have Him!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hello Again!

Wow! It's been a long time since I sat down to write a blog! I still read yours tho! I love to read them, even tho most of us spend way more time connecting on facebook these days. It's fun to follow my nieces and nephews. To see what great parents they are, and watch their kiddos grow up! I get inspired to read how many of you walk thru hard times with such a strong faith, and how God carries you! It's fun to read the decorating blogs and see how people decorate their homes - something I've always loved to attempt even tho I'm a little hit and miss in my own efforts. Its always fun to run across a new blog!

I think one of the main reasons I haven't updated in so long is because I really felt like it needed to be an amazing tribute to my Daddy. My precious daddy passed away shortly after I wrote my last blog. I never felt like I could write a tribute to do him justice, (it's not possible!) and to find the words to try always made me realize how much I missed him. My blogging kinda froze, so now I am going to attempt to revive it. It might be a little tear-stained if it were on paper, and I hope if anyone reads it, it will not make them sad but only grateful for the love God allows us to share while we are on this earth. A love that will only be sweeter in eternity!

Daddy was almost 87. He was on a ladder when he fell. High on a ladder. Why? Because he saw a job that needed to be done. My daddy never saw a job that needed to be done that he didn't feel like he should take it on himself to get it done. He lived by that philosophy. It was a mission that often caused those of us who loved him to worry. It took him into bad neighborhoods, to prisons, to help hundreds of people we won't know this side of heaven that he helped. We won't be surprised. It was his life. It was the Spirit of Christ living in him. He didn't know what it meant to retire. He retired from a 21 year military career, one that spanned thru 4 wars, lots of moves, many awards and promotions, always done with the strength and dignity that he modeled for us. That retirement led him to career number two. He went back to school (ACU) for 4 years and got his teaching degree. Summa cum laude of course. With three little girls and a wife to provide for, which as an adult I find amazing. They did it with such grace that I didn't realize when I was young what an amazing feat it was. I say they, because he couldn't have done it without my mom's full time help and support. She worked at ACU to provide for his tuition, came home in the evening to take care of her babies, and after we were fast asleep she sat up and typed his papers while he went to work at his night job at Gibsons Department Store. If you knew my Dad, you know those papers had to be typed to perfection, in a day before computers made it as easy as a backspace! How did they do that? They did it in such a way that the years we lived in Abilene were some of the favorite years of my childhood. Only as a parent did I come to realize how hard it must've been! Then the teaching years began, with a move to Smithville and I think 15 or so years teaching high school there. Yes, he taught while we attended there. Usually that was a good thing, and it certainly made me try a little harder to stay out of trouble and be on good terms with my teachers! He started the distributive education program there, and later switched to teaching special ed. He helped and encouraged a lot of students that others would've given up on. He always felt rewarded with each step they took towards being able to lead the most independent lives possible. I know he also took their struggles to heart. He had a weakness for caring too much!!! I think that was also one of his greatest strengths! Retiring from teaching only led him to find a new career! He did not believe in retiring to sit on his laurels! He spent the next phase of his working years as a baliff for Bastrop county. I think he loved that job as much or more than any of his previous ones. Loved serving, loved the people he worked with, loved still being able to work which he continued until he was 85! I would have to say that he had a fourth career as an elder in the church in Smithville. He served in that role for over 40 years. He carried burdens and made difficult decisions. He made sure odd jobs around the "church-house" were taken care of which is what he was doing when he fell. Changing the filters in the churches air conditioner. I can't think of anything he would've rather been doing than serving at church. He reached out to families in crisis that we won't know about because he kept their confidences. There were usually only two elders because the church is small. That means the weightiness of that job was not carried by very many. But God helped him. Anytime you went in to tell him goodnight he would be reading his bible, or having already read it it would still be laying on top of him. He knew where his strength came from, and taught us where ours comes from as well. He was an inspirational man of God! He lived a life to be honored and modeled.

One of my favorite things about him, and one of the things I miss the most, was his humor. He was the funniest person ever. Some people might be surprised by this, I think he often saved it for those he was closest to. He had a comeback or a one liner for everything! I wish we could remember them all, but the ones we do remember always make us smile! He always reminded me of a Christian version of Johnny Carson. He never lost his sharp wit!

I am grateful to God for the sweet Christian parents He gave me. Momma, I'm sorry if this made you cry! Love you and I know that you miss him more than anyone! You are the best wife and mother God ever made!

If he was here to proof read this, he would be embarrassed that I would think about publishing it. But for sure it would have more than a few red circles on mistakes that needed to be corrected. Wish I didn't have to settle for spell check! I love you Daddy! I am so thankful to know that our separation is a temporary one!

I will try to do better on my blogging now! Maybe get a few in before the pictures are of Whitney's college graduation!