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Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

One of my favorite authors is Neil Gaiman.  He wrote some of my favorites, including Coraline, The Graveyard Book and Neverwhere.  He writes a blog at http://journal.neilgaiman.com/ which I stumbled across today while reading another blog.  In scanning through a question, and the subsequent answer, caught my eye and gave me one of those pauses.

It was this:

Dear Neil,
If you could choose a quote – either by you or another author – to be inscribed on the wall of a public library children’s area, what would it be?

Thanks!
Lynn

I’m not sure I’d put a quote up, if it was me, and I had a library wall to deface. I think I’d just remind people of the power of stories, of why they exist in the first place. I’d put up the four words that anyone telling a story wants to hear. The ones that show that it’s working, and that pages will be turned:

…and then what happened?

—–

I love when a writer (or anyone with an incredible ability to use words) is able to so completely and simplistically sum up what both a storyteller and a story listener understand.  Some of my most precious memories, especially in these most recent years, are looking at the eyes of Cole and Grace as they watch me and I spin a story about a silly boy and girl, or whatever strikes my fancy at the time.

And it got me thinking.. especially as this time of year comes around and we’re caught up in the decorations and the present buying and the festivities and parties..how simple of a story it was, especially to a child.  I tell Cole and Grace about the donkey and Joseph and Mary and the baby born in a manger and their eyes light up with the wonder of it all.  I can see them thinking about the starlight, and the animals, and the precious little baby.

But my favorite part is at the end of the story.. when we discuss the baby being given the gifts by the wise men.  Nothing makes my heart swell more to hear them both ask me, “and then what happened?“.

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An Update

It has been way too long since I’ve updated here.  I’ve slacked off – mostly due to the fact that life here in Georgia has been so busy and so blessed.

Going to resort to bullet points to try to fit in everything that’s happened since my last update – because believe me, there is a lot!

  •  In addition to the piano teaching business, God has provided with an opportunity to supplement my income working for a realtor who I know from my small group.  I am working from home now, setting my own hours and thanks to my experience working for Mike at the law office I jumped right in with little training involved.
  • Went home for Thanksgiving and had an amazing holiday and visit with family.   I think Evan has grown at least 3 inches since I moved to Georgia. I made some incredible cranberry dishes with fresh cranberries (my first time with them!)  The best, by far, was the Ginger-Lime cranberry sauce.  This holiday, combined with the events of this year, really brought home to me how thankful I am to have my family, to have good relationships with them and to be able to count on them – both in good times and in bad.
  • Christmas is almost here!  Where did time go? With all of the dropping off and picking up from school, making lunches, thinking up of show-and-tell items (an item that starts with E folks.. anyone?), birthday parties, endless loads of laundry and even more endless happy hugs I can hardly believe we’re nearing the end of the year. I’ll be flying home again on the 19th of this month and returning to Georgia on the 27th.. hopefully with my baby (big) brother Alec.
  • My old five-year-old, self-built computer is finally dead.  Kaput.  Won’t turn on.  Thankfully I was able to purchase a new Dell machine (it has FOUR GIGS OF RAM PEOPLE) and it runs my games and new work programs and movies like a charm.  I’m loving it.  Praise God for providing me with the income to afford it.
  • Church has been incredible.  My small group and my church family have really come together to support me and provide me with a second family when needed.
  • One pattern that keeps reoccuring is how well God is taking care of me financially. Every single time an issue comes up and I do not know where I will get the money to deal with it something happens the next day that proves again and again that my life here is in His hands.  And just now I am understanding what a precious thing that is.

So there’s a bit of an update – and I promise not to be so slack in the coming months.  God bless, and have a Merry Christmas!

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Happy May Day!

May Day is full of all sorts of memories for me, particularly ones that remind me of my grandma. Grandma passed away several years ago, but still, quite often, I am reminded of her and long for access to talk to her and laugh with her and enjoy her companionship. I was so busy the last few years of her life working and playing I didn’t spend the time that, in hindsight, I wish I had with her.

But I do hold some memories very close to my heart. May Day baskets when we would visit in May, tea parties year round at our visits, painting flowers on wooden items, cross-stitching, and then seeing our cross-stitches framed and on her walls. Sugared tea, jello, cottage cheese pie, grandma’s casserole and her infamous ribs – the smell of which would notify my cousins that their uncle and his family were coming to visit.

And with the memories of my grandma come those of my grandpa – the blinking railroad light at the base of the stairs, the smell of tobacco, a comfy laugh, his foot pounding the floor three times to call us up for dinner or a scolding. How he could be all prickly on the outside and so soft and loving when receiving a hug. I remember seeing him and my grandma out on the swing together, and laughing when little grandma would scold the great bear of a man that grandpa was. They always called each other “mom” and “dad” too. How normal that sounded coming from them, even though if I were to hear my own parents addressing each other that way I think it’d be a little wierd. =)

Grandparents are precious things. May Day has always been, and will always be, my own little reminder to keep the memories fresh because they both live on in my heart and my thoughts.

So – in accordance with my May Day memories, I’d like to wish you all a Happy May Day!

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My Easter Weekend

  • Cadbury Eggs eaten – 0
  • Pre-teen boys entertained for FOUR DAYS – 2
  • Cans of Vault consumed by pre-teen boys – 16 (
  • Movies watched – 7

Crocodile Dundee
Romancing the Stone
Talladega Nights
King Arthur
Happy Feet
Meet the Robinsons
Firehouse Dog

  • Cats tormented – 1
  • Trips to the folks house – 2
  • Gas consumed – 21391872312 gallons (it feels like!)
  • Trips to the grocery store made – 3 (one at 10:30 p.m. because watching someone on t.v. consume a hot dog made us hungry for hotdogs. Shame on Kroger for not having veggie dogs available!!)
  • Alcohol consumed – 0 (but I was wishing for it a few times..heh)
  • Fun had – 8 billion gallons worth.

I hope ya’ll had a fun, relaxing weekend.

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Post-Holiday Blues

The tree came down last night. All my Christmas decorations are put away and for the first time since the beginning of November I can actually walk through my living room without tripping over something.

As relieved as I am that the hustle and bustle is over with, I still am afflicted with those blues that come when everything settles down and the anticipation energy wears off.

So – I invite you to check out a few links that I’ve provided here that necessarily do not have to do with Christmas, but are fun winter passtimes until the spring gets here and we can escape outdoors.

Snowfight anyone?

I’ve made level 3 so far. I suck at this game!

Snowflakes

Sponsered by the Salvation Army. I created a snowflake – shouldn’t you?

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Christmas Report

It’s a few days late, but better late than never!

I went over to my folks home on Friday, December 22 after my last lesson at 5:30p.m. Rosie was home from Georgia, dad was home, Alec and Meggan due home from work soon. I brought over a carful, that’s for sure – between my computer (must have World of Warcraft fix), 5 loads of laundry, about 15 piano books and all my gifts it was, needless to say, a bit crazy loading and unloading!

Friday night my dad spent time turning our old piano and getting it ready for me to spend some time playing on. (I think I knocked it out of tune though, sorry Dad!). Friday night Lauren, her husband John, and her kids, Gage and Alaynna came over to exchange gifts since the kids were going to be gone over Christmas with their mom. After gifts were exchanged (waffles on my new waffle iron anyone?) we went out to the living room, pulled out the Ray Boltz book, the Charlie Brown book and a few of my classical books and began to do what the Presley’s do best – make music! It was so incredible to hear the voices, new and old. It’s been years since Abby, Meggan and I gathered around the piano and sang for hours. Some of the faces of changed, some have grown older and wiser, but the outcome was still the same. Dad went to town on Suppertime (but he’s having a harder time reading those little words), Meggan charmed us all with My Blanket and Me, and we got to hear Alec sing with Meggan for the first time. I cried, I admit it. Later on that night I worked with Rosie and Candace and helped them pick out their own “songs” so next year they can shine with the rest.

Saturday was a busy, busy day. I had brought recipes and had planned to make Christmas sweets. I got off to a late start, and my trip to the grocery store ended up being a trip to the grocery store, a trip back home to get my wallet that I had forgotten, a trip back to the grocery store to pay for the food, a trip to Game Stop for Rosie to get Alec’s gift, a trip to Wal-Mart to pick up a toaster, a trip around the Wal-Mart parking lot while waiting for Rosie to emerge from Wal-Mart (not Game Stop!) with Alec’s gift. We made it back home and mom hustled out the door, leaving me the kitchen, to go have dinner with her friend.

Alec had to be dropped off at work at 2:00 p.m., so I couldn’t start my cooking yet, and had yet to eat lunch, so I dropped him off at Pizza Hut, picked up a salad, and went home to find that mom had left her cell phone in the kitchen. The boys thoughtfully gathered up every phone in the house and brought them to the kitchen for me as well, since no one in that house likes to answer the phone when it rings..and boy does the phone ring. It rang when I tried to take a bite of my salad, and I got dressing slopped on my clean shirt, it rang when I tried to pour myself a soda, and I spilled soda on the floor.. it rang when my sister, Meggan, got home on a break from work and it rang when my hands were full of chocolate flavored cream cheese for the cheesecake I was making. I had a few other stops I had to make – the moral of the story is, don’t cook on the day before Christmas Eve unless you are prepared to run lots of errands and get very frustrated!

Dad worked both the 23rd and the 24th, so I didn’t see much of him until the evenings. Meggan worked double shifts both those days as well. But I got to spend a lot of bonding time with Rose and Nan, and got to bond with my brothers on Christmas Eve over computer games. I got to sleep in a pullout sofa, smell the cat’s doodoo when she decided to make the corner of the room her home, and on Christmas got to see the incredible happiness that one of those perfect Chrismas days give.

It was definitely a family weekend, and I feel so much closer to all of them. That’s what the holidays should be about – reconnecting and rebonding with the people who will always be there, no matter what.

Now, next weekend I plan to lock myself in and turn off the dang phone!

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From the desk of Candy:

December 2006

Dear family and friends,

We the Presley family have much to give thanks for this holiday season. Without getting too sappy, allow me to share the highlights of 2006.

This past January, Loran and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in May, 2005 by spending two full weeks on Kauai in January, 2007. 82 degrees and tropical breezes make for a vacation that felt like Paradise. The longer we’re married and the older we become, the more we enjoy warm weather and doing absolutely nothing.

Lydia hit the big one this year – 30! I do not feel old enough for this to have taken place. She is in her third year as a legal secretary for the attorney she works for in Chillicothe. This past summer she delighted both her dad and mom by opening her piano studio and teaching lessons. If that wasn’t enough to make us smile, she started taking lessons herself again. We are so jealous of the neighbors who enjoy the endless evening hours that she practices daily.

Abigail and Scott have officially been married five years. They live in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. There is always a home improvement project going on at what Scott affectionately calls “Camp Abby”. They have two adorable children – Cole who is three and Grace who is almost two. We treasure each visit – which is never long enough. Abby has embraced being both a wife and mother. She does everything whether it’s cooking, baking, crafting, decorating or organizing the next social event in her neighborhood with an all-out enthusiasm. Let’s just says the wives on the block can tend to get just a little jealous of Abby’s skills.

Meggan gave us hope this year. She completed and graduated from Gateway Drug Rehabilitation this past summer. She continues to set short term goals – 90 N.A. meetings in 90 days and then the opportunity to go back as a guest speaker to Gateway. Next is the Constitution test for her GED. We celebrated her sobriety at 7 ½ months. At 25, she is taking one day at a time and embracing life for the first time in a very long time. Her family – especially her brothers and sisters are enjoying each day with Meggan and the chance they have to get to know the sister they thought they had lost.

Lauren became wife and mother when she married John 2 ½ years ago. Gage who is 9 and Alaynna who is 4 have been accepted into our family. They at the present are living in a home that we have been renovating for the past two years. Lauren loves to cook and makes all of us smile. She is so generous in her caring and is blossoming into a lovely woman.

Alec is our senior this year. He has a big heart and not so small in stature either. He has been managing at Pizza Hut while working forty hour weeks. He also chose music over football these past two years. We as a family love to hear him sing. His passion is gaming and he is hoping for one of those rare Wii systems come this Christmas.

Rosie is now a sophomore. She decided on making a change this year and chose to live with her sister in Atlanta and attend school there. The music program is excellent where she plays flute and piccolo. She is a straight A student again and is embracing the challenge of her studies. We miss her voice in our home but holidays are now the best for her and us!

Candace is thirty-five and locked in a fourteen year old body. She’s always been like a grown-up. She informed us today she has always had straight A’s. She will not settle for less and would really like to be challenged more. She has her first boyfriend this year and it’s fun to see the two of them together.

Ethan is 12 and in the sixth grade. He now has his own room which he takes pride in keeping immaculate. He is my third hand in the morning – takes trash out, makes his bed, helps with laundry and lunches, and has officially learned how to make macaroni and cheese. Ethan makes us smile with sports and it all just comes easy to him.

Evan, now 11 and in the fifth grade means we are now done with grade school. School has always been a challenge but studies seem to be coming easier. Evan loves web-kins and spending time with his buddy Tyler. He has a sweet spirit and soft heart which on a regular basis his older brother takes the advantage.

That pretty much sums up 2006. We’ve been in Washington almost ten years now. It’s been a decade of joys and sorrows. This year Loran and I can say we are so proud and greateful for each of our children. We look forward to celebrating this holiday season.

Merry Christmas to you our dear friends and family,
Loran and Candy

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