Saturday, March 28, 2015

Light in darkness

Did you know that the human eye is a marvelous thing? We've all seen the commercials of the woman who sees a flame in the dark from quite a distance. In fact, the human eye is able to discern, on a dark night, a flickering candle up to thirty miles away. According to scientific research, the human eye can detect between five and fourteen photons (the activation of five to fourteen rod cells). That's pretty impressive.

I say this because it sort of leads into my subject at hand...sort of. Actually, I thought it was a cool bit of when you play Trivia Crack and the subject of how far the human eye can see, you have the answer nailed.

Anyway, I came across an article by Kevin DeYoung about John the Baptist. He made mention of how he was created to be the prophet fore-runner to Jesus, the Light of the World. John 1:6-8 says:
 (KJV) (6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. (7) This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

That Light that is spoken of, of course, is Jesus Christ. The cool thing is, John was sent to bear witness to the light, to talk about Him, to prepare others for Him and to lead people to Him. Jesus is the Light that you can see better than you can see the Andromeda Galaxy, which is the furthest that the human eye can see in space. What do I mean? How can I see someone who can't be seen? Tough question.

The Christian is called to bear witness of the Light (sound familiar?), to prepare others for His coming and to lead people to Him. In doing that, people who aren't saved should see Jesus in them. The compassion, the love for others, the drive to see that no one perish, that is what should be seen.

I saw a video within the last few days of a young boy about 13 maybe, standing on a sidewalk in I think was New York City. The temperature was 5 degrees, and he had a sign, a t-shirt that had holes in it, jeans, shoes and a black garbage bag. He was asking for help on the sign, but no one paid any attention to him. People would walk by, a few looked at him and his sign, but no one stopped to help. All of these folks were bundled against the cold, and no one stopped to make sure this one boy was taken care of. Finally, the boy, who was shivering, crawled into the garbage bag, curled up and laid down on the sidewalk. Finally, a man came by, took his coat off and put it on the boy, and gave him some money. It was later determined that this man had once been homeless. This man showed the compassion that we should all have. It is not known how many of the people who passed this boy were confessing Christians, but this one man, Christian or not, showed the world what living like Christ is like. This man showed the boy Jesus.

Jesus spoke about the time when He will return and judge all of the Nations. In Matthew 25:35-36

(35) for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; (36) I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

then in Matthew 25:37-40 He answers: (37) Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? (38) When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? (39) Or when did we see You sick, or in prison and come to You?' (40) And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

Clearly, this man in the video ministered to the least of these, or at least who he thought was the least of these. At the end of the video, the man was blessed with much more than he gave by the ones who were filming this piece.

So, do we do these things just to receive the blessing? Certainly not! Yes, sometimes blessings are realized straight away, but more often than not, the blessings will be a long time coming, perhaps not in this life. We should not be doing this for the blessings anyway, but because Jesus encouraged us to do so...because we are the light in this darkened world that leads to the greater Light, Jesus. We are not that greater light, we are the ones proclaiming the coming light, but because of who we are, Jesus shines through. For loss of a better analogy at the moment, like moths to a porch light, others will be drawn to us, then we are able to proclaim Jesus risen and coming judge the just and unjust. Jesus will come like the Lion He is..the Lion of Judah, to correct that which is wrong.

"So, Lois....what if you're wrong?" So what if I am? I will have lived a good life, one that shows compassion, one where I did my best to show others who Jesus is by living the life He encourages us to live. To help others who have nothing, whether I get a pat on the back or not. Then I will be remembered as one who lived out loud, who helped and loved others and did her best.

If, however, I'm right, then after doing all of this, then, with Jesus as my Advocate,  I will stand before God and may have to answer for the times that I failed, but will be commended for the times I stepped up. Then He will usher me into Heaven where I will live for eternity. But for those who have not accepted Christ in their lives, they will be judged, with no Advocate but themselves, and sent to eternity in Hell, and trust me, it ain't going to be a picnic.

The choice is simple. Ask Jesus to come into your life. You don't have to clean house, you don't have to be perfect, because Jesus takes you where you are, as you are, but the cool thing is...He won't let you stay there. Because He comes into your life, you will want to will want  to be more like Him.
"What about going to church? Why should I go, it doesn't make me any more of a Christian."
No, going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes you a car, but here's what going to church does for you: It gives you people who have been in similar situations who can help you through them. It gives you learning opportunities, helping you to know Scripture and how to apply it to your life. It helps you to live life larger, and fully. Yes, you're going to run into the Cr-Easters...those that only come to church on Christmas and Easter. Yes you're going to run into those who have a mask for Sunday and then another for the rest of the week. That's unfortunate, but happens in all realms of society. But you're also going to run into those who genuinely want to be like Jesus, and want to tell others what He's done for them. Those are the ones that you want to know, those are the ones who will teach you more than you ever thought you would ever know...not with book smarts or street smarts, but with God-smarts.

Whew! That's a lot to take in, and I hope it is crystal clear and not muddled. Dear Ones, it is my desire that those I love, whether I'm family or if I've never met you before, will come to the saving grace of my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful Palm Sunday weekend and a beautiful Easter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rain, rain go away...sheesh!

Who am I kidding? This is Houston!
Seriously, though. I don't think we've had more than twenty four hours of sun since late January. I'm beginning to understand what its like to live in offense to my Washington State fans, but constant rain? Ugh!

I feel like I'm developing webbing between my toes and I wouldn't be surprised to see feathers growing out of odd places. There's a stretch of land just outside of the subdivision that's been cleared and's right by a retirement apartment complex and not too far from the railroad tracks...If I start to see mass amounts of lumber hitting the ground...much more than for the complex next to it, I might be raising an eyebrow. When the animal sounds start, I'll most likely start to get my affairs in order and pack for the journey Home, because sure as shootin', the Lord will be coming on a cloud out of the Eastern Skies!

I'm worried about my cats, though. They still hate water. Maybe I can built them some little life rafts that they can sit on and observe the deluge...maybe some Plexiglas in the center so they can watch the fish and whatever else floats under their raft. They are, after all, a curious bunch.

Don't think Bailey, my mudding Duck Tolling Retriever Mix will have many issues with the rain and sludge, the others will have to learn to tread water. The Rat (translate: Daughter's Min Pin)? He might just shake himself silly and hope the cats will let him on their raft after they're finished laughing at him in his raincoat.

By now, I'm sure you're wondering if I'm tired of the rain...Nah! Not me! It waters the lawn, the flowers, the weeds, the mud puddles, the cement, the car stuck in an intersection because "the car is taller than that puddle is deep..." (famous last words) and the tree-trash all over the place. My flag got shredded with the wind and rain and is currently snagged on the pole out of my reach. I could get the ladder to get it down, but the ground is so soggy, the ladder will sink and I still won't be able to reach my flag. Going to have to wait until the ground hardens some.

It's rained so long here, when Mouse sees the weatherman on the nightly news, she shakes her head, makes a face and says, "he's sooo fired." Yeah. Its that real.

Okay, so I know some of you are out there either giggling yourself into a depends necessitating fit or you're shaking your head. Either way, I'm willing to bet you've been entertained. So, can you do me a favor?

Pray that the rain will stop. I don't look good in duck feet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

When Authors meet Authors...

Especially in Austin, Texas...well, lets put it this way. Way too much fun was had!

So, I went to a writer's conference last week, my first ever. I really wanted to go to the conference, but the cost of it wasn't in my foreseeable future. Praise God for contests and scholarships. I was awarded a scholarship (does that make me an award-winning author now?? Hee, hee!), and was able to drive the couple of hours it took to get to Austin. One observation here...rush hour traffic there? Oy!
Anyway, got there, checked in and because the hotel is a popular place, had to wait an hour for my room to be ready. It was worth the wait. Gorgeous room. If you're ever in the Austin, Texas area and want a room with the most comfortable beds and nicest rooms. the Renaissance Austin is your place to stay. The fact that the conference was there was icing on that particular cake.

So, looking at my conference stuff, I noticed that I kind of messed up on the dress code, so out the door I went to find business casual. Found a couple of things and bright and early Friday morning, I headed down, my poor swollen feet in heels. I get to the check-in table and look to see other attendees milling around wearing...wait for it...jeans and tennis shoes. Yeah...slightly over-dressed. The sweet girl at the table suggested since they weren't quite ready to check in yet that if I would like to go and change into something comfortable, that I had plenty of time to do so. Guess who high-tailed it to her room! This girl!

When we finally got into the conference room, I was in awe. Easily a couple hundred people were there from just about anywhere in the US and probably elsewhere in the world as well. The morning was jammed packed with information and fun and give-aways and of course, Ted Dekker. The man is flat out funny. When our first break came along, I accidentally (yes, it was sort of an accident) bumped into him and let him know how grateful I was to be a winner of one of the scholarships. I also let him know he is one of my most favorite authors. No, really...he is. I can't tell you how many of his books I own.

Julie Lyles Carr was another of my favorites from the conference. She is what she herself referred to as the Cruise Director. A mom of eight (I know, right? I commend her...I barely could handle two!), it boggles the mind how she has any time at all to do any writing. And funny? She's hilarious!

Sandi Krakowski, author of BeMore knocked my socks off. Yes, another funny woman who dug deep into my soul and touched a couple of things that the Holy Spirit has been nudging me on as well. Fantastic speaker.

James Rubart was another speaker that day. Something just occurred to me...I think they scheduled all of the funny people on the first day...but that isn't to say the others weren't funny...there definitely were some light-hearted moments, but the ones that got me to snort a couple of times were on the first day of the conference. Y'all know who you are....keep spreading that sunshine!

The day wrapped up with an Author Panel comprised of Ted Dekker, James Rubart, Susan May Warren and Mary DeMuth. This was pure wonderfulness and there were tons of laughs.

Oh...I forgot to mention. Before lunch, I ran into Ted Dekker again. Yeah...really this was a true accident because he turned around and started to walk when I was walking past. He was talking to someone else and I didn't want to bother them, so I started to go around. Anyway, we ran into each other and talked for a few minutes. Definitely a foot-in-mouth discussion for me. He asked where I came in from and I told him Houston. I joked about our traffic here and then made my faux pas...I mentioned that Austin drivers were crazier than Houston drivers. His response? "I live in Austin..."
I closed my eyes, pressed my lips together and nodded my head in shame...yeah, I was sure I just insulted him. I left the hotel shaking my head as I went to take back the business casual clothes I'd purchased the night before.

At the end of the conference, true to our southern Texas weather, a monkey wrench was tossed in.
You have to love our weather. Truly the old adage fits here...if you don't like our weather, wait five will change. We were having freezing rain. One inch thick ice on my car. By afternoon it was melted, but by two o'clock the barometer was doing its funky stuff again, and the fibro was kicking in. Nothing like an organic weather machine to tell you when the weather's changing. I waited the conference out as long as I felt I could without running into the slick roads. Left early, but not without a few with my favorite author.

Did I have fun? To quote Sarah Palin..."you betcha." Did I learn a boatload?  Absolutely! Did I make some new friends? I did indeed and I look forward to next year!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"When did we see you a stranger and take you in?"

"Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' " That quote is from Matthew 25:37-40.

This last week has presented me, and quite a few other Brothers and Sisters in Christ the opportunity to be who we have been called to do.  A family in Christ has fallen on an extremely difficult situation, in fact it can be considered a crisis situation. Up until last night, I have been in continuous prayer for them and the situation.

About ten hours ago, a gofundme account was set up for this family and as of this writing we have collected a small amount, which is an awesome achievement considering the time it went active. However, that said, the goal is a very high one and a bit daunting at that. Prior to this week, I could have gotten discouraged by what I'm seeing, but since last week with interceding for them as well as another friend, my faith is as strong as it ever was. I can see God's hand moving.

This is not going to be a long post, this is just going to be one of sharing. This gofundme is urgent and I am asking that you prayerfully consider donating and definitely share wherever you can. It only takes a small thing to turn a family's balance into something tragic...whether it is an accident, a death, prison, addiction, etc., and it could be your family in need. Wouldn't you want your friends and family to do all they could to help?

Thank you dear friends not only here in my hometown, but around the world.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I always thought I would have a dull life...

Trust me, I didn't disappoint myself!

I mean, seriously...when one has eight cats, four, sometimes five dogs, two toddlers/preschoolers and the Mouse in the house at one time, well, life isn't dull.

Case in point. Sunday.

A bit of background first. My house is over forty years old. Its wiring has little to be desired. There has been more than one occasion that I've had issues with the outlets, not to mention sometimes the kitchen light. That, however is for another blog and another day. Needless to say, I've begun to think this house has a mind of its own and doesn't like me.

That brings me to Sunday. I turn off my ringer for church. Always. Which means that anytime someone calls I usually don't get it until after church ends. Well, I've begun to take my Kindle to church because there's an app that allows me to make notes with the sermon. If you haven't seen this app, check it out, its called YouVersion and has the option to find a live sermon. So. I set up a mobile tether to my Kindle so that I can get the live version of our Pastor's sermon. Sunday I was about to set up my tether when I see that my Hubby called. This doesn't happen, so I left the sermon to call.

I went out to the foyer and tried calling back. No answer. Gut tightens. Call the house phone, gut tightens more...goes to the answering machine. "Hello? Hello? Hello?" finally an answer. The outlet where the computer is has sparked. Yay. Well at least the house didn't burn down.

Problem is, I smelled plastic when I got up that morning, but figured something plastic fell on the heating element in the dishwasher, it was that kind of smell and I dismissed it.

When I got home, I turned off the power to the house and tried to get the surge protector out of the outlet. No good, it was fused to the housing of the outlet. I ended up pulling too hard and pulled the outlet apart. So, I cut the cord to the plug, inspect the surge protector, which is totally fried as well, unplug the computer which is thankfully unharmed and tape up the exposed wires. Out comes the duct tape and I tape that up as well, because, well, sometimes my cats are stupid and fried cat couldn't possibly smell good.

Head back out and turn the power back on, go to check the tape on the wall, push on the outlet and Oops! Flames shoot up the wall! Blow those pups out, turn the power back off and call an electrician. They can't get out until Monday (seriously...what was I thinking?? LOL!) but they tell me to call the fire department because there was a fire. Now comes the good part.

No sooner do I hang up with 911 when a huge rig pulls up to my driveway and six...count 'em, six taller than my house firemen hop out, one of them in a mask. A small snort pops out of my mouth as I get a mental picture of the many commercials and memes with firemen, as Hubby and Mouse scramble to contain the dogs. The cats? They usually scatter and I don't generally worry about them.

Blushing pretty heavily, I open the door and all but one of these guys bend their heads to walk in. One of the cats, Snickers, gets this look like "oh....@&^%$!", growls, fluffs to five time her size (which is pretty big in the first place) and backs into and up the Christmas tree. Ornaments rain down and I lose at least two of the bulbs. Next thing I see is a black and white streak hauling hiney out of the room.

 The guy with the mask (who still has it on)and the rest of them check the walls, outlets and attic for hot spots, then the guy in charge tells him he can take his mask off. Me, always the mouth says "unless you're allergic to cats." He smiles, says he isn't allergic to anything and takes the mask off. One of the other cats cautiously peeks around the corner, sees the guy remove the mask and a grey streak flashes by. I have to shake my head, these cats are something. It took me over a half an hour after they firemen left to get a head count, two of my furbies hid under the couch (how the heck did those chubs get under there??).

I get that this is may be only slightly funny and perhaps just a bit too much of a look into my house, but I had to get it out. My life is never dull. If the two Master Minds aren't being sillies, the animals are doing their best to practice for Barnum and Bailey. I have dogs chasing cats, cats chasing dogs and on at least two occasions, cats chasing kids, only once did the kiddo have a string, but both times play was involved.

I have to wonder at this point...what is 2015 going to bring! ;)

Happy New Year, folks! May it never be dull and may the smiles be abundant!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Was thinking this morning...

As I was getting ready to begin my day with my Granddaughters today, I was doing my morning prayers. Multitasking...something that I'm pretty adept at. Anyway, I reminded myself of an acronym for prayer, mostly because I felt that my morning prayers were getting pretty stale. If they felt stale and boring to me, I can't imagine how they must be for God. Anyway.

As I said, I was reminded of an acronym; JOY. Jesus first; Others second; Yourself last. I didn't get much past the "y" because the thoughts that started to overwhelm me on the "J" took over.

We celebrate Christmas to remember Jesus' birth, although we are not sure of what day He was born. We celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the One who will save the world, on Christmas, but very few of us think past that day until Easter time and the end result of Christ's ministry.

As I was praying, or in my case, actually talking to Jesus, it hit me. I couldn't have done what He did, knowing the end result would have been so horrendous. I know the end, end result was He went Home, but the pain and the suffering He endured to get there...not sure I could have handled it without going batty insane.

For those of you who don't know the story, here's the condensed version. Jesus, who is the second in the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit), left Glory to become a man. If that starts your mind boggling, think of an egg...three parts to an egg, one egg. Same thing here. Three parts to God, One God. Anyway, He left Heaven to become a Man...being born of a virgin He entered this life like everyone else, as a baby. He grew up, living a sinless life and began His ministry at the age of 30. Now, I'm going to pause here.

All His life, He knew what waited for Him at the end of His ministry here on earth. All His life. He came face to face with Satan in the desert. Right there, I don't know if I wouldn't have reneged on the deal. Praise God, He didn't.

At the end of His ministry, He was rejected by His own people (the Jews), was hated by the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees and the Saducees, and was betrayed by one who called himself His friend and disciple. Again, not sure I could have done it.

When He was arrested, He was beaten, scourged, lashed...His beard was pulled out, a crown of thorns shoved on His already mutilated head, and yet He stayed His course. The lashing...He received 40 lashes (at least, probably more). Most lashings historically were 39, supposedly to keep the lashee from dying on them. Then they made Him carry the cross-beam for His own torture device up a hill. Now, just to give you an idea of how heavy this thing was, try picking up a railroad tie...this was heavier. Jesus had already lost mass amounts of blood and yet He carried the beam at least a little way before collapsing and then Simeon carried it the rest of the way for Him.

I don't know about you, but that would have been a deal breaker for me. For Jesus, it wasn't.

When they got to Golgotha, they laid Him down on the beam and stretched out His arms. They ran spikes, not nails, spikes into His hands/wrists. I write it this way because to have run the spikes through the center of the hand, the spike would have torn through the flesh and freed, albeit painfully, the victims hands, rendering the crucifixion useless. According to scientists, the spikes were run just under the palm of the hand into the wrist where the carpals would have stopped the spikes and held them fast,

They raised the cross beam up the already standing vertical beam and ran a spike through His feet. Crucifixion is an extremely cruel form of punishment as gravity pulls the body down, suffocating the victim. The one crucified then keeps trying to lift himself up to get air by pushing on his feet. From what I've read, the pain is excruciating and most mercifully pass out before they actually suffocate.
Still, being fully God and fully Man, Jesus stayed His course. But now, this is the part in our conversation that got to me.

As I was remembering all that He went through to be the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I didn't have to endure the pain, torture and separation from God that is Hell and the Lake of Fire, it occurred to me that He knew in a small moment what it was like to be me.

In that one moment when all of the sins of the world; past, present and future, were cast upon Him, when He willingly took them and took the punishment for them, GOD TURNED HIS BACK ON HIM. Why? Because our righteous God could not look upon sin, and Jesus had become everything that sin was, in that one brief moment. Right then, right then, Jesus knew what it was like to be mentally unstable, to be depressed, to be gay. He knew what it was like to be an adulterer, to be a liar, to be a thief, to be a murderer. He knew what it was to be deceptive, to doubt, to hate, to fear, to experience confusion, and any other sins or negative emotions that we can think of because they all came crashing in on Him. He never once experienced these sins, He saw them in others, but He Himself never experienced them until that one moment in time...and His Father, the One He loved the most, turned His back on Him. He cried, and shouted to God and asked why He had forsaken Him, but He already knew the answer, even as He spoke it. The sin nature took over at that one nanosecond and perhaps He felt hope slipping away, even though He knew it hadn't.

Then the veil was torn. The earth shook. The sky darkened, and He said..."It is finished."

He died.

I couldn't have done what He did.
I couldn't have done it knowing the pain, suffering, and torture I would have to endure. I couldn't have done it knowing the One I loved the most would have turned His back on me, even for a second. I couldn't have done it for people who I didn't know, much less someone who wasn't even born yet.
But I didn't have to, Jesus did it all for me.

So, you see, when we celebrate His birth at Christmas time, we actually celebrate our God who made a way for us to be with Him when this part of our lives is over. We celebrate the love that He had for us since before the foundations of the world were created. We celebrate the salvation that was provided, the blameless, sinless, spotless Lamb of God...Jesus, who despite knowing every moment that was coming; despite knowing the end result in this life, kept on His course so that we would never have to deal with Hell, torture beyond our comprehension or the Lake of Fire.

I couldn't have done it, but I thank God that Jesus could and did.

Have a wonderful, safe and blessed New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Okay, so its been looking like Christmas since October, who are we kidding? But that hasn't stopped me from being over the top excited about two days from now.

Let me explain. No, wait, let me start from the beginning of the year.

To say that this year has been a strange one is an understatement. The world seems to have lost its collective mind in one way or another and all of us, whether we want to admit it or not, have been affected be it. From the shock of seeing one our own citizens beheaded by ISIS on the local news (the actual act, of course, not shown), to the deaths of two very different men in different circumstances by the hands of Law Enforcement. From the execution of our men in blue; to North Korea having temper tantrums of one degree or another; to losing one of the most beloved actors of our time taking his own life because of depression, the news has been fraught with stories that tug our heartstrings and stir anger, angst and outrage.

There has been good in the news, don't get me wrong, but the degree of the bad seems to over-shadow it. However, things like JJ Watt smashing defensive tackle records left and right; a two year old boy's reaction to hearing his mother's voice for the first time. A double amputee is able to use prosthetic arms and to control them with his thoughts (John's Hopkins); a mystery woman pays off shopper's lay aways at a local Toys R Us...the positive list is huge, but really, seeing the good amongst the negative this year was sometimes hard to do since the negative was so horrendous.

So, why am I excited? I know, I went off on a bunny trail, but for good reason. See, my year has been peppered with a few bad things going on, but some really cool stuff managed to make it to the forefront!

I published my first book, The Father's Footsteps (by accident...I hit the publish button instead of the save button...the rest is history, as they say!), then Diary of a Crazy Cat Lady right on its heels. By mid year, Crazy Cat Lady saw more success than The Father's Footsteps and to me that was a bit of a surprise. Mid year also brought a partnership with Erin Fossa, a wonderful young woman who voiced the audio version of Crazy Cat Lady. I loved listening to her voice, and the beginning of a new book (still in the works), Rosewood. From those who read The Father's Footsteps, I got a lot of surprised readers giving it a five-star rating, and requests to do a sequel, so Hansa is in the works. The Father's Footsteps went to the audio version and as of this writing, is being finalized and will be available to the public by the first part of January 2015. To say that Zach Brewster-Geisz was a perfect fit to narrate this book is a profound understatement...I can't wait to hear the feedback from y'all when you hear this one! Finally, a work that has been years in the making, The Trial of Andrew Osher is very near completion and I hope to have it out by the end of the first quarter of 2015.

Also making the news that is wonderful was the homecoming of my Daughter, Son-in-Love and my beautiful Granddaughters from Okinawa! While I loved making the trips to Japan, it is so fantastic to have my babies home and to see them as often as I want. Mouse calls the girls "Master-Minds," to which begs the question..."does that make you the Minion?" Mouse is not amused by that question. Ever. However, she loves those little girls to pieces and wouldn't trade them for the world, but will lock herself in her room when they get a bit crazy.

Yes, I do watch them a couple of days a week, and there are days when I wonder how on earth did I ever have the energy to raise my own? These two wear me out!

Thanksgiving was a joyous time with the blending of the two extended families. Since I have cats and my Son-in-Love is allergic, we were blessed to have shared the day with his family. We had a great time, the guys watched the Dallas/Whoever game on television and Mom-in-law and I took pictures and joined in on eating the wonderful desserts that she made.

So, finally that brings me to two days from now. This will mark the first time that I have had my Punky and her family (and Zyrtec and benedryl waiting) with us for Christmas. It was going to include my folks, but unfortunately plans changed for them and they couldn't make it. Regardless, I predict a wonderful evening of fun, paper everywhere and more fun. I hope to tell the girls the Christmas Story after dinner before we open the gifts and before they get crazy with all of the activity. The turkey should have them sufficiently sedated for that...after the story, no doubt ripping the first bit of paper should over-ride the tryptophan enough to wind them up for the rest of the night!
The cats won't be able to join in this year, they'll get their own quiet time, perhaps a gift in and of itself since the Girls sometimes over-load them with love and carrying them around with their front legs in the air and their back legs trying to get a foothold on the floor. Praise God, they're usually a tolerant lot with only the occasional swat when they've had too much. The dogs, however are going to want to sniff everything and eat the bows, that's just a perk of Christmas time for them. Perhaps I'll invest in a couple of bones and send them to neutral corners to nosh.

So, that's it. I'm off to make cookies for the neighbors, of course saving a few for us for Christmas. I hope and pray that your Christmas is a wonderful one, filled with all that is good and beautiful, and may 2015 bring only wonderful things for you and yours.

From my house to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!