Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Musings

The saying in the Rochester, NY area is "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute." How true that has been these last few days. We've gone from snow to rain to 50 degrees and green all in the matter of three days. How strange. Don't think this has anything to do with global warming, it's been this way for all the 40 years I've lived here.

So, it's Monday afternoon. I've had a really busy few days. After reading Cheryl's latest post, I want to add my own "two cents" to her urging to reach out to someone in need during this Christmas season.

Last year our children talked to us about not giving gifts to one another for Christmas. Jim and I have so much. What we want or need we manage to buy for ourselves throughout the year. We decided some time ago to forgo gift giving and put our money in a travel account. It's worked well for us.
Paige, Gretchen and Brian asked us if it wouldn't be better to take whatever we would spend on each other and contribute to a charity. Jim and I agreed and chose a family that had been abandoned by their father. The wonderful mom gave me a list and Jim and I had a great time shopping, wrapping and delivering the gifts. Only the mom knows where they come from.
Because the circumstances haven't changed much for this family, we have asked Mom if we can do this again and she agreed. It has been a fun project for us.

Years ago, my assistant and I started an Angel Tree project in the library. Even though we have retired, we have stayed on as co-chairs of the committee. At the last minute, we received a request from a grandmother who had just been granted custody of her five grandchildren. As we understand it, they arrived with just the clothes on their backs. Thanks to the generosity of our local Teacher's Association, we were able to provide each child with a set of clothing AND a toy. Jim and I did this shopping on Saturday. It was such fun. It's been awhile since I've shopped for young children, and never for four young boys.

Jim started early this morning wrapping. I need to do the bows. I'll get to that later this evening. What a blessing for us to be able to take part in this project.

Once again, let me join Cheryl in urging those of you who have the means and the desire to get involved in sharing Christ with others this Christmas by giving what you can. I will confess to you that making this change in our gift-giving was not an easy one for me. I miss shopping, wrapping and giving gifts to my girls and Brian. However, I am very proud of them for taking this step in sharing the true meaning of Christmas.

Jim and I are into the entertaining phase of our Christmas season, I guess. Yesterday we had friends from church in for brunch. Jim and I did a spiral glazed ham and our son in law, Brian's hash brown casserole potatoes. They are so yummy. Everyone brought a dish, making it easy on me. The variety was great; we had a vegetable casserole and a stir-fry vegetable dish. Linda made her asini fruit salad {which she must always bring}. Beth made delicious cinnamon rolls and Lara provided gingerbread men and brownies for dessert.

Mr. & Mrs. Gingerbread.

Sienna is seriously biting the head off her gingerbread cookie

Evelyn is just taking it all in, while Daddy Jeff smiles at me.

There were twelve of us{if you count dear little Evelyn}. We had a delightful afternoon. This tradition started many years ago with a group of us going to the nursing home to sing carols and do a program of Christmas scripture readings. Somewhere along the way, the nursing home said they had too many groups at Christmas and "fired" us. Not to be daunted, we just kept getting together to eat anyway and hope someday they may let us come back to the nursing home.

Today I'm doing double time in the entertaining department. I invited two of my former library clerks and our "favorite" patron for lunch today. We all love crepes and have a favorite crepe restaurant where we like to go. I surprised them with crepes for lunch today. I had chicken and asparagus crepes for the entree and strawberry and cream crepes for dessert. I think they liked them. We had a delightful afternoon visiting and reminiscing; sharing lots of new titles to read.

It is so good to spend time with these gals. Although I love my retirement, I do miss some of the people. Actually, I miss all of my staff. We had such a pleasant working relationship, even if "nobody ever listened to a word I said. " {Don't laugh, you guys. You know it's true} LOL

In just an hour Bruce and Shelly will arrive for our annual Christmas Concert Dinner. Once again, this is a tradition that has been going on for years and years. In the early years, we would wait until after the concert and then Bruce and Shelly, another couple and Jim and I would have dinner together. If any of our kids were around, they came too. Some things have changed in the past couple of years, leaving just Bruce and Shelly, Jim and I. Also, being a little older, last year we started to eat before the concert. The tradition continues even if some of the circumstances change.

I'm going to close with a story about myself. Last week I was out with some friends from church. We shopped for a new stove for our church kitchen and then went to lunch. As we stepped out of the car at the appliance store, I saw a sign over the adjoining building. The sign read "Shogun Martial Arts". What I saw at first glance was, "Shotgun Marriage". Now, tell me if I'm not just a little bit nuts.

~Hippo Hugs~


Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, the weather saying pretty well goes for here as well. Sunday we had almost 70 degrees, today it's in the twenties and we've been having freezing rain and sleet all day! More of the same for the next couple of days. Yuck!!! I feel big time cabin fever coming on! LOL.

But then I can read about all your fun get together's and enjoy life through you. LOL.

It's a wonderful thing to give to those who really need help at this time of the year. We got together and donated 60 turkeys to a food bank that was running low, just last week. And we have an Angel Tree at my church every year, and we also visit nursing homes and sing carols and bring little treats. And I always like to remember The Humane Society with a little Christmas gift every year.

Love all the pictures. We have a Christmas Bingo get-together this coming Thursday, a party at the American Legion to go to Saturday, and the Christmas Buffet at our church, plus lunch with some special friends, but everything depends on the weather, of course! Here in the hills snow, sleet and ice really stops everything, so I'm praying for a break from it all.

Shot gun marriage? LOL.

Hope you really enjoyed the dinner and Christmas Concert.

Holiday Hugs,


Laura said...

Oh, I love the "Shotgun Marriage" story! That was hilarious!!

Those gingerbread cookies look wonderful and I totally agree with helping others who are less fortunate. We've done some extra giving, too, through my job and Alise's school. Giving to others in need can be so rewarding.

Cheryl Wray said...

Thanks for your wonderful post, Pam, and for joining in with me the plea to get people to reach out during the Christmas season! I'm still a bit "selfish,"I guess, and gotta enjoy buying all the gifts for family and friends. But this year we felt so blessed to be able to help in several ways. Last night at our little family Advent time we talked about it again...that the only real way that we can celebrate what Christ stood for us is to reach out to others. That's the real "proof" of our faith!

I LOVE those gingerbread people.And boy do I love to eat gingerbread too. Yumm, yumm.

Have a wonderful night!

Anonymous said...

heh-heh...that's totally something I'd do, too. Love it, shotgun marriage! (Oh, and I bite the heads off, too, heh-heh.)

Monogram Queen said...

What a sweet, sweet post!

The head is the best part!!!! (well except for ears if it's a bunny)

hippo chick said...

Patti - My kids always liked to eat the bunnies butt too.

Midlife Mom said...

That is a hoot about the shotgun marriage!! Gave me a good chuckle tonight!

You sure have been busy! What a nice idea to do the Christmas gifts for that family. We did that one year at our church for a family that lived near by. We just happened to find out about them, they don't go to our church, and we took gifts and food to them and they were so thrilled! It's so much fun to do things like that isn't it? We are the ones getting the blessing even more then the ones getting the gifts.

Those gingerbread men look so good! Yes, I have to bite the head off first and then the arms and then the legs! Poor little gingerbread person! lol!

Well Charlie Brown Christmas is on so guess I will watch it for the
20th time. It's always good.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Faye said...

Wow...good guess....I've had Fibro for 8 years now and every now and then I get huge flare-ups. I guess I have just learned to live with it. I am very high functioning though, unlike many women I know.

hippo chick said...

Hi Faye,

Me too. I praise God that I really do very well. Like you, I get flare ups, but manage without medication. I have friends who suffer terribly.

Nancy said...

What a giving person you are, Pam! That does give one a great feeling at holiday time. Here we donate to different things during the holiday season. There are a LOT of people who are just grateful to get a meal on Christmas Day.

You are one busy gal with all your social events! Sounds like fun, though!

Loved the 'Shotgun Wedding' tale! LOL You are a hoot!!!

(((((( HUGS ))))))

Leslie said...

Pam-So happy to have come across your blog and loved reading your post for today. Giving and helping others through Christ certainly is and should be the focus at Christmas. If we all just did our part, imagine how much things could change for those less fortunate.
I try and do my part at Christmas and throughout the year in many different ways. Since I am an artist I like to donate art in many to many different charities and in many different ways.

I also appreciate reading about all of your gatherings with family and friends during the holidays-again, it's what Christmas is all about!

Thanks for sharing, I hope to come back and visit again.

Love in Christ,

Cheryl Wray said...


Okay, I had to come over here RIGHT AWAY and ask you to just do one, teensy weensy thing for me this Christmas. In fact, it can be your Christmas present to me. :-) Pretty please WATCH It's A Wonderful Life. I just KNOW that you would love it. It's funny and sweet and so meaningful. The acting is perfect and, well, everything about it is great (you can tell I LOVE it, can't you? lol). Just tell yourself you're going to start it AND finish it (LOL). You won't regret it!

Okay...back to your regularly scheduled blog.

(Have a great weekend!)