Monday, December 24, 2007

Food, Fun, Friends, and Family

On December 18th I left a cold, snowy Woodburn In. and flew to Oklahoma City. It was mid-50's and sunny for 3 of the days
that I was there. I go back to OKC about every 3 months or so
because my son still lives there, and I have some really good
friends that live there. On Friday night my good friends Bertie
Gray and Shirley Hill and I went to Mimi's Cafe. I love their
corn chowder! We had really good food and a good visit.

This is Shirley's home. (Her home is where I stayed for over
4 months when I broke my leg in Aug 2004) Her daughter Judy lives with her. Another very good friend, Jaquetta, came over on Saturday night. We had a delicious meal and exchanged gifts. We always have such a great time together. W laughed and laughed over the silliest things! Really fun!

I don't have any pictures of this, but I also went back to the
hospital where I worked (Oklahoma Spine Hospital. It so
happened that they were having their carry-in Christmas
lunch so I got to see everyone and visit, and of course eat a little too! They were such a great group of people to work with, and it's always fun to go back and see them.

Of course, one of the main reasons I go back to OKC is to
visit with my son. He lives in an apartment and sort of works
at a little store near where he lives. He hangs out at the store
and helps them; I think he just really likes some of the people
that work there. We went shopping and I got him some
clothes and stocked his apartment with food. He also went with
me to visit G-Ma Lavin. For the most part, he seems to be
doing quite well.

Grandma Lavin insisted on having us for a meal, so Tim,
Donnie and Gene Hill (cousins of mine and niece of G-Ma)
and I went to her home on Saturday for lunch. We had
spaghetti, salad and garlic bread. It was all very yummy!
Mother Lavin doesn't see very well any more, but she still
loves to paint pictures--she does really nice work. I gave her
some art supplies, and canvas and wood pieces to paint on. She
was really excited about them.

Mother Lavin is 85; she doesn't see well, and has a hearing aid,
and she says she is getting weaker all the time. But she has
always been a really neat lady, and we still really have fun on
our visits together.

Well, I don't know how this blog will look when it's posted, as it seems like sometimes they re-arrange things for me! However, I wanted to just share a little about my trip. I am so blessed to have wonderful family and such good friends. The Lord is
truly good!

(This is mother Lavin--Gloria) I guess my narrative didn't quite
match up with my pictures.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Questions--Favorites and Stuff

Brenda sent me these questions so thought I'd try to answer them. (She originally got them from Nicole.)
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper for most but bags for odd shapes or when I'm in a hurry.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial-still have to take time to string lights (it's an old tree!)

3. ? When do you put up the tree ? Usually try to have it up by the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually on New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes; I especially like eggnog flavored ice cream.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Sad to say, but I don't honestly remember.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? A couple very small ones; One is from Haiti

8. Hardest person to buy for? Lynn; his family is used to telling family members what they want for Christmas, and then it is really no surprise-they get what they asked for. I like surprises!

9. Easiest person to buy for? My very good friends, Shirley and Judy

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

I tend to get things I don't really like from one of my first husband's relatives; ( I don't think they blog) It's not that these things aren't nice, but it's things I would probably never use-like a flame snuffer for candles-I just blow them out!

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? I really enjoy getting Christmas cards, so I mail them.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A lot of them are my favorites; I like some of the newer Christian-based ones that have come out-The Christmas Card, Christmas Shoes, etc.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Ideally, around October, but that usually never happens. This year I did start around the end of October, as I have adopted 12 "grandchildren" this year.

14. Have you ever re-cycled a Christmas gift? Yes. Once I think I even gave it back to the person who gave it to me!

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? Home-made cookies or candy; pumpkin roll

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I much prefer colored.

17. Favorite Christmas songs? I love most of them. I listen to Christmas music from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I really like the Hallelujah Chorus; there's a fun one that Lowell sings, and for the life of me I can't think of the name of it. ( I even help him sing it)

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? We usually stay home. Our family gatherings are not actually on Christmas.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes I can. (You'll just have to trust me on this one.)

20. Angel on the top of the tree or a star? I have always had a star.

21. Open presents Christmas eve or Christmas morning? Usually Christmas eve. I sometimes have to work Christmas Day, which is the case this year.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? I don't know if it's annoying, but it's sad that so many people don't celebrate the real meaning of Christmas, because they don't know Christ personally. It's also sad thinking about family members who are no longer with us to celebrate-but they are celebrating with the Lord Himself!

23. What I love most about Christmas? Getting together with family, the Christmas music, the special programs at church, etc. There's not much I don't like. (except maybe the traffic.)

24. Do you believe in Santa Claus? I like the spirit that comes with Santa Claus-the elements of fun, surprise, anticipation, etc.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas's Past

I put up my Christmas tree last Sunday. As I was deciding what ornaments to put on it, I was looking at all the "home-made" ornaments my kids made (many years ago!) and other ornaments that are way past their prime. I was wondering why I didn't just throw them away. Then I was reading through my "Christmas Ideals" magazine and saw this poem. I thought it was appropriate.

Christmas Angel
Half of me wants to throw away
This angel with damaged wings,
Stored in the attic at Yuletide's end
With leftover Christmas things.
Half of me sees that the gold on her robe
Is tarnished beyond repair,
And obviously the sheen is gone
From her halo-crowned, golden hair.
But half of me treasures the memories
That crowd in as I hold her near,
Memories of all the joys she has seen
From her treetop year after year.
So, I climbed the ladder, and put her there
In what is her rightful place,
Forgetting the injuries the years have brought--
She still has her angel face.
Though the glow she once had
Through the years may depart,
She retains, as always, her hold on the heart.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christmas--Cards, Kids, Family, Fun

I am having a really fun time this year with Christmas. I have traditionally written a poem for my Christmas letter for the last several years, and this year was no exception. ( I also have them all addessed sealed and stamped, AND delivered.) I can't believe I sent them out so early this year. One of my friends in Woodburn said, "Congratulations Donna! I always wait to see who i will get my first Christmas card from, and this year yours is the first".

The other fun thing I am doing is that for this year I've decided to be a grandmother to 12 of my great-nieces and great-nephews (the ones that will be at our Christmas gathering.) I don't have any grand-kids and don't have any prospects of any, so I volunteered to get a little gift for each of the 12 kids. I'm actually having a blast! I got some general ideas about likes and dislikes from G-Ma Lou. I can only hope that the kids will be somewhat excited too, but even if they aren't super impressed, it has added some fun and joy to my Christmas.

I will be going to Oklahoma City on Dec 19th for a few days to see family and friends. I guess it's a sign of my somewhat mature age, but it seems like time has just flown by these last few months. I'm also having fun figuring out some gifts for them. Now, if I could only figure out what to get my husband!! He's a little tricky to buy for, but I think I finally figured something out.

To all you gift-givers out there, I hope you're having as much fun as I am. My hubby thinks I've gone mad. (He hasn't really said that, but he gets this strange look on his face and looks at my boxes, and says, now, tell me again, who all are these gifts for? )

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Celebrate Life--Love, Laugh, Live

Tim (my son) and Sara

Tomorrow would have been my daughter Sara's birthday. She would be 30 years old. She was taken from us on August 2, 2006,when a generator in her apartment caused carbon monoxide poisoning. There are many responses you can have when you experience such a loss. Because this would have been a significant event in her life, I have been reflecting on many memories. These are some of my memories.
  • She LOVED deeply. She cared not only for her family, but was always more concerned about others around her than she was about herself. (She put the generator inside her apartment instead of on the patio so that it wouldn't get stolen, as it belonged to her boss). Many times she showed concern and went out of her way to help others.
  • She also loved God. She told me on more than one occassion that she loved the Lord and she knew she would go to heaven when she died.
  • She LAUGHED often--and loud! She had a contagious smile and loved to laugh. She could cheer up her friends and family by her ready smile and laughter.
  • She LIVED well. She had MANY friends and she loved to have fun. We called her our little socialite, because she was happiest when having a good time with friends and family. She also had goals, and was planning to go back to school. She was a faithful employee and worked at Sonic for many years.

And so today, I choose to celebrate her life. I feel that I was truly blessed to have her as a part of my life for 28 years. For the last year of her life I lived in Indiana and she was in Oklahoma. She would call me at least once a week, and I can still sometimes hear her say, "Hi mama, what's up?" HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SARA!

Facing Our Giants

This morning our pastor's message was on Facing our Giants. He used the very familiar story of David and Goliath. I know there is also a movie out now, called "Facing The Giants", which is basically about a team that thought they faced unsurmountable odds. The pastor used a quote from Max Lucado: " Your 'Goliath' doesn't carry sword or shield; he brandishes blades of unemployment, abandonment, sexual abuse, or depression. Your giant doesn't parade up and down the hills of Elah; he prances through your office, your bedroom, your classroom. he brings bills you can't pay, grades you can't make, people you can't please, whiskey you can't resist, pornography you can't refuse, a career you can't escape, a past you can't shake, and a future you can't face".
I know in the past I've had my 'giants'. There are still a couple of giants, lurking out there, wanting to keep me from being the joyous, productive person I should be. But I can praise the Lord, because I know he is in control of every situation. My part, which is sometimes the hard part, is to leave all of these things in His hands and trust Him implicitely to work everything out for my best interest.
Like David I can say, I can have victory over all my giants, because I have the power of the Lord on my side.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Tanyale, Tyler, and T.J.

Sharice, Brian, Lynn, Lou, and Rog (kids in background)

Lynn and I had no family to share Thanksgiving with (his daughter had other plans and my son is in Oklahoma. So my sister Lou invited us to share thanksgiving with them. I hadn't really spent time visiting with Brian and his family for a long time, so it was really nice. Of course, Lou, the cook, had a fabulous meal! Later in the afternoon, Rick and Dawn and their family, and Jon and Laura and their kids came also. After dinner some of us played rummy cube for a while. Then they played Yuker (sp?) I had never played, so I watched for a while, then tried my new found knowledge. I played a few good hands, but Lynn and I lost! It was a fun day.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Family Memories

Yesterday my siblings (2 sisters and a brother) and I spent the day with my Dad. He had asked us to find a day that we could all go together; he wanted us to go through a lot of his family pictures and slides. I guess he wanted us to be able to have whatever pictures we wanted and preferred to do it now while he is living and could be a part of it. ( He is still in relatively good health, but I suppose you start thinking about things when you are 89).

While lunch was warming on the stove, we looked at about 4 carousels of slides. I had imagined that this could take quite a long time, but actually it went rather quickly; we each ended up taking home one carousel with us.

We had a wonderful lunch together, with home-made soups, barbeque pork sandwiches, cheese and crackers and 3 desserts! Lowell brought the soups, which were delicious. It was all great. Then we started going through picture albums. We started putting pictures in 4 different stacks as we each found pictures we wanted to keep. However, Brenda got carried away! She kept saying "oh that is so cute" and stealing some of our pictures. She said she was going to put together a presentation with some of them for our Christmas get-together. Of course, she promised to return our respective pictures to us!

I think one of Dad's objectives was to make some space in the closet where he had all these pictures stored. We did actually accomplish that, as we reduced the amount of pictures in his closet by about half. However, we had many pictures we thought could be thrown away. Dad decided that maybe he should go back through some of those once more himself.

It was a really fun day. We don't very often get together with just the 4 of us and Dad and Kay. (Katie was there, also to help entertain us). Part of the fun is just the laughter over some of unbelievable hair-do's, clothing styles, etc. We had a great time. I've added some pictures and slides to my already large collection. And, I'm sure we are in for a treat when Brenda puts together her presentation!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Belated Picture

Tonight I have learned a new skill. I loaded the software for my digital camara onto my computer and then actually figured out how to add a picture to my blog. Wow, for a "mature" lady, that's not too bad! This is Lynn and I on our anniversary, eating at Red Lobster. He always takes a good picture--wish I could say the same for me! I have much more to learn about computers and digital pictures, but I was sort of proud of myself for at least accomplishing this.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ladies, learning, and enlightenment

I have been involved in a Beth Moore Bible study the last 8 weeks ( we have 2 more meetings) This is the first time I've done one of her studies. It is called "Living Beyond yourself" and it's on the fruit of the Spirit. I am just so amazed at her perspective on various scriptures and how she relates it to practical living. The Lord has certainly given her a gift, and she has made such a difference in the lives of many women. I have really enjoyed the fellowship of the ladies in my small group, and feel like I've learned so much. (2 of the ladies in my group are my neighbors, and I've gotten to know them so much better).I just hope I can put at least some of what I've learned into my daily living.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Treasure your eyesight

I had an appointment with my eye doctor yesterday. A little over a year ago I was given a diagnosis of wet macular degeneration> I was legally blind in my right eye> I received an injection of Avastin in my eye. It greatly improved my vision. We considered it a miracle as my vision went from 20/200 to 20/40. Then about 9 months later, it was starting to come back so I had another injection. I had an appointment on Sept. 19 and my eyesight was still ok. But this past Tuesday my right eye was worse--20/60. I knew it was getting worse, because when I covered my good eye everything was blurry. So yesterday I had another injection.
I love to read and do scrapbooking, and I'm still working full time as a nurse, which requires good eyesight. So it's a little frightening to think that at some point these injections won't help anymore, or that it would spread to the left eye.
I feel very fortunate that these injections are available. And I feel blessed that I can still see to do all the things I need to do and enjoy doing. So for now, I am trusting that once again the injection will improve my eyesight. But I was thinking, before this happened, I'm sure I probably sort of took my eyesight for granted. I now have a great appreciation for being able to see. I truly treasure my eyesight.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Today was my wedding anniversary--we've been married two years! This is my second marriage, and I've been blessed to have two wonderful marriages. I know that some people never have even one good marriage. You always somehow feel that you should celebrate these special occasions in your life. We went to Red Lobster tonight after work to celebrate. (I had the waitress take a picture of us, but I don't think I can figure out how to load it into my computer and into this blog. Well, at my age, you learn things a little slower . I hope to get this all figured out! ) In some ways, I think you appreciate your mate a little more in a second marriage. You don't sweat the small stuff, and just really learn to love and laugh and enjoy life and enjoy each other. Possibly it's because we have experienced first hand that we have no guarantee of how long our life will be. So today, we celebrated our 2 years of marriage; we still feel like newlyweds, and we think we will continue to feel that way for a long time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Miscellaneous Musings

I have been reading blogs from my nephews, and I felt that blogging was probably for the younger generation, or for those who are very creative thinkers. I am certainly not considered young, and probably have very few creative thoughts, but decided it might be a way for me to journal. One of my nephews reminded me that people get to know us better through the stories of our lives. Also, I thought it might help keep me young by using this rather popular communication medium.

I think my word for today is "Blessed". Recently we have had so many friends and family members who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses. Also we know of people who don't have good family relationships or are having difficulties in their marriage. I have been thinking recently, that I am truly blessed in so many ways:

I am blessed:

  • because I am a child of God, and it so awesome to think that the Creator of the Universe cares about me.
  • with a wonderful second marriage.
  • with a great extended family who love and support me
  • good health.
  • the ability to work

So I am very thankful for all the ways the Lord has chosen to bless me.