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Sunday, November 30, 2008

What I Did On My Thanksgiving Vacation

Remember in elementary school when you had to write a paragraph about what you'd done on a recent vacation? While I didn't travel, I had a vacation from work. So, here are a few of the things I did on my Thanksgiving Vacation:

--Cleaned out my closets
--Taught Sunday School

--Helped Callie clean her bedroom

--Gave Emmi and haircut and bath

--Took 2 car loads of stuff to Goodwill

--Shopped for Christmas presents

--Made Christmas presents for my co-workers
--Visited with my brother and his family from New York
--Shopped for paint and supplies
--Painted the hallway ceiling and walls

--Walked/ran the Turkey Trot (3 mile race on
Thanksgiving morning) --Ate Thanksgiving Dinner with my family at Shreveport Country Club
--Played Mad Gab with family
--Took family photos
--Watched a movie I would have never watched on my own!("Run Fatboy, Run" with Jana, Rob and my niece, Leslie)
--Mudded the wallpaper seams in my bedroom and sanded them (the girls and their husbands painted them)
--Took Jana shopping for dress pants
--Cooked a big pot of chili and invited the Jamar side of the family over---lots of fun and laughter

--Hugged Dan "good-bye"
--Hemmed 5 pairs of pants for Jana and Callie
--Hugged Callie and Jordan "good-bye"
--Hugged David, Leslie and Laura "good-bye"

--Constructed a set of angel wings and halos for a skit at church

--Wrapped Christmas gifts

--Chased Emmi down the street when she got out of the front door

--Hugged Jana and Rob "good-bye"

--Cleaned up my new, fresh bedroom

--Took a nap

Now, it's back to work and regular work schedule.
Friday, November 28, 2008

Extreme Home Makeover

As part of my birthday present this year, Jana and Rob offered to help me paint my bedroom. Any of you that know me know that it has been on my "to do" list for a number of years. But, after tackling my small bathroom and discovering what an overwhelming job THAT was, I just never could seem to get started on my bedroom. I've re-done every other room in the house at least once, but because the bedroom was wallpapered, I knew that it was more than just a simple paint job.

This week, we began tackling the project!! And my hallway, too!! After a couple of shoulder injuries, painting ceilings is just not something I can do easily anymore, so they decided to help with that as well. Jordan and Callie came over to work, too, so the five of us were quite a team. While Callie, Jana and I painted woodwork and cut in corners, Rob and Jordan painted the ceiling (no easy task when painting white on white without the hallway light). My little niece, Laura, who is visiting from New York, helped by babysitting Emmi.
Next step was covering all the furniture in the bedroom and mudding the seams. Watching my height-challenged daughters try to get the drop cloths over the armoires was pretty humorous! But finally we were able to get that part of the job done, too. With only a break for pizza, we worked for about 8 hours on Wednesday!!!This morning, while Jana and Rob hit a few Black Friday sales, I sanded all the seams. Unfortunately, my small Shop Vac won't turn on, so I've got to borrow one from a neighbor before we can begin painting again. We still have one more day we can work (tomorrow), and then the rest will be up to me. Of course, since I can't even get to my bed or my clothes, there's a lot so incentive now to get it all finished!!
Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Crafting

Today felt like Saturday. Not that I'm complaining---after all, I didn't have to work today and that was great. I slept in a little bit with the rain falling outside and then when I got up, I was able to take my time getting ready for the day.

I'd intended to do some more house-cleaning today (Callie and I did some major work on her bedroom yesterday). But, as is usually the case for me, it is always a lot more fun to make messes than to clean them up. So, I did some Christmas crafting.

Last month when I went to Canton, I found this and bought it for inspiration: Personalized hand sanitizer for $4.95 (excuse the blurry picture):I bought some these at Dollar Tree (2 in a package). . .some stickers at Hobby Lobby. . .and made these! (total cost about $.55 each)
At the same booth in Canton, there were some really cute personalized fingernail file holders made from grosgrain ribbon. I didn't buy one of those (I think they were $9.95), but I did purchase some ribbon for about $.50/yard at a nearby booth.I monogrammed the ribbon on my sewing machine, folded and sewed and filled them with files (also from Dollar Tree--2/package).
Voila'! (cost---about $1.00)So for Christmas this year, each lady in my office will get a set!----for about $1.50 each!!!NOW, I still have a good bit of tidying up to do and I need to get clean sheets on the bed because Jana and Rob will get here tomorrow night! Hooray!
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Five - Oh!

My birthday was this week . . .a big birthday . . . a "milestone" birthday! Yep, I think that I now qualify for the senior discount at some stores (now that's pretty scary)! Some people really dread those milestone years, but I don't really think about it too much. I don't feel old, so it doesn't really matter to me what the numbers are. And though my hair is sprinkled with a large dose of "gray", I feel like I've earned every one of them and have decided not to cover them.

So, when my birthday rolled around, I looked forward to a quiet dinner with my Dad and step mom and was thrilled when I learned that Callie and Jordan would also be joining us! I got worried momentarily when she insinuated that there were lots of surprised coming at dinner, but after I got there and realized it was just us, I assumed it must be coming in the form of waiters singing to me, etc.

Throughout the day, I'd had several emails and phone calls wishing me a happy day--more so than on previous birthdays---but, again I assumed that was part of the "surprises". Needless to say, I was completely caught off-guard and overwhelmed when I received my birthday presents! My dad and step-mom gave me a cash gift along with the most beautiful
James Avery ring!! (something that I truly love, but probably never would have splurged on for myself!!) And Callie and Jana presented me with the most amazing thing I've ever seen---the "50 Wishes Project".

At first glance through the notebook that Callie gave me, I thought that they had gathered good wishes from 50 friends and family members; and that was great! But, upon reading the opening pages, I realized it was so very much more---and the tears began!

I just couldn't believe what I was reading! They set up a website and asked many of my friends and family members (via email mostly) to participate in the project in a variety of ways:

1. Posting a birthday wish for me

2. Posting a picture on the website
3. Making a donation to the "Linda Jamar Scholarship" for children in Juarez, Mexico to attend school.

4. Post a wish for the children of Mexico.

There just couldn't be a more perfect gift! My heart has been deeply affected by my visits to Mexico and I am especially touched by the children I meet there. I was touched beyond belief that people had responded and that at least 10 children would now be going to school because of their generosity!

And the birthday didn't end there! The next morning, I began receiving phone calls about 6:45 a.m.---friends who were so excited by the project and were checking to see my reaction to the whole thing! And the phone calls continued---that was almost as much fun as the initial gift!

I have amazing daughters---girls who care for others and see the need beyond their own homes and respond! Thank you, Jana and Callie! I love you!!!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Fire Is So Delightful

My favorite feature of my whole house is my fireplace. And my favorite thing to do----sit in front of the fireplace with a throw over me and knitting needles in my lap!!!

The temperatures have dropped in the last couple of days and it's quite chilly when I take my morning walk. In fact, it's been cold enough that I need to wear gloves and a headband to cover my ears. The weather has been beautiful, but as it cooled down again late this afternoon, I brought in firewood and lit the logs for the first time this season. As relaxing as it is for me, it is taking a bit of time for Emmi to get used to the new "thing" by the hearth. She barked and glared and tried her best to protect me, but her eight pound body was no competition for that crackling noise and glowing light. She finally calmed down after a while when I put her up in my chair with me and has been quietly resting here ever since.

When I put up the Christmas tree this year, I wonder if she'll remember her arch enemy Christmas ornament from last year---the wooden Santa?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stories In Hand

Well, today began the online course I'm taking at . I've never done anything like this before, so it will be interesting to say the least. This "Stories In Hand" class will hopefully spark some good ideas for scrapbooking and even blogging. We'll see. This afternoon, I printed out the first sets of worksheets to go in a binder, but haven't yet trimmed them or punched holes in them. (that is NOT mine pictured above) I guess that means that even though it's the first day, I'm already behind. Not a good sign!
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Here is the Church, and Here is the Steeple . . . .

As a child, my parents took me to church on a regular basis. We generally went to the "early service" and sat in our regular spot up in the balcony. We pretty much went to church every Sunday, unless we were sick or out of town. We lived on the complete opposite side of town from the church and the effort it took to go there was great in those days. As an extremely bashful, introverted teenager, I sometimes longed to go to a church in my neighborhood where my school-mates were----somewhere I already had friends and didn't have to work so hard to "fit in".

But, through the years, I stuck it out. With my mother's encouragement, particularly, I tried inviting friends from my neighborhood to go with me on Sunday nights----giving me the courage to be there and someone to talk to when everyone else segregated themselves into school groups.

As I got older, went to college, got married and then had children, I went through periods of time that I didn't go to church very regularly and even visited other churches. I wanted to be sure that the church I chose was "my church" and not just the church of my parent's choosing. But, over and over again, I found that I had a feeling of "home" each time I came back to Noel and a sense that it was where I was to be. And it has become that---a place I belong and where I can worship and serve the way I was born to.

Once a parent, I followed that same example set forth by my parents. The girls and I attended church every Sunday and they were involved in Sunday School, youth group and mission trips.
While I used to consider my life quite boring by most standards, I have to admit that there have been some particularly rough spots---times that I never dreamed I would have to face and certainly never wanted my children to have to go through! Yet, through them all, my church family has been there for us, surrounding us with love, prayers and support and reminding me of the Greater Love. I honestly do not know how people make it through life without that kind of support system and pray that each of my girls experience that same kind of love and spiritual support.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to visit church with Jana for the first time. I'd met (and immediately liked) her pastor at their wedding, but this was the first opportunity I'd had to attend worship with her. She's been a member there for just a couple of years at most and has become involved in many aspects of church activities and leadership.

While I've always known what an amazing person Jana is, to see the connections she has with these people (who are strangers to me), filled me with such joy and warmth. They love her and respect her and support her. She has found "her place" and I know that she has formed ties there that will never be broken.

Home Sweet Home

Last weekend, I had a great time visiting Jana and Rob in Atlanta, GA. As luck would have it, they closed on their new house the day before I arrived, so I was one of the first people to get to see it! Jana attended a teaching job fair Saturday morning and then I rode up to Buford with Don and Sally to get the grand tour. I don't really know how large a place Buford is because we never went into "town", but Mill Creek subdivision is far enough out of the bustle of the city that it felt like we were in the middle of the country. Upon entering the subdivision, the streets were lined with maple trees that were ablaze in red!! It was beautiful and something that I certainly never see in Louisiana!
It seems that they got an amazing deal on the place----the house is only a couple of years old with plenty of room for a young family. Their lot backs up to open farmland, which adds to the rural feel. After church on Sunday, Jana and I hit a few fabric stores and IKEA (by the way, the Joann's in Duluth is AMAZING!!) and came away with the makings of new curtains and pillows. The living room curtains were completed that night and hung the next morning. We also made a stop at Michael's where I purchased about $10 worth of autumn flowers and ribbon to re-furbish the "tired" wreath that had been hanging on the front door. This is the new and improved version:We moved the sewing machine up to the new house and spent all day Monday working on bedroom and kitchen window coverings. All that sewing got my creative juices flowing and made me wish I could stick around to help her finish things. I even packed as much of the fabric as possible in my suitcase, so maybe I'll get a few more projects finished for them before they come here for Thanksgiving!

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