Monday, November 30, 2009

Great word...LOVE this!

When's the last time  you did something crazy for God?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's wrong with this picture?

Half the dang lights are out, that's what.  Argggggrrrrhhh!!!

Last night were were sitting at Larry's family birthday dinner and suddenly half the lights on the tree in the dining room went out.  I was not a happy camper.  In fact, after setting up and decorating seven trees plus cleaning the house, plus doing a very involved birthday dinner I was ready to be committed to a local mental facility  drop.  I was exhausted I almost couldn't see straight and just couldn't believe this was happening.  It happened three years ago and I blogged about that whole saga here in what was one of my most popular posts here at  What is it about this particular tree and any set of lights I put on it?  Perhaps this is an omen.  Can Christmas trees be possessed?  Or at the very least oppressed?  Being that it's in a Christian home, we'll go with oppressed so as to not get any theological panties in a bunch.  I ended up doing a sermon about it...[the blog post three years ago, not Christmas tree oppression] but anyhoo, back to this year's adventure.  I know, I know, you're on the edge of your seat wondering how this could possibly be any more exciting.

 When I noticed the lights were out, I freaked, and Larry calmly said, "don't worry, it'll be okay."  Now please note, when he says this it is never  any consolation to me and sometimes I even burst into tears when he says it.  The reason is -- his "don't worry it'll be okay" can most times be translated this way:

"Don't worry Deanna, it'll be okay in the end.  It's just going to mean a whole lot of work for you now. You might go through frustration, headache, maybe even a little living hell however, in the end, you are personally going to fix all this mess, I'm sure of it." 

WHAT??!!! All of you who are even remotely sane will agree with me I'm sure that is of absolutely no comfort. He also [mistakenly] thinks at times that it would be better for me to just table something like this for a few days but honestly it just weighs on me terribly if something is left undone and I can't relax. Last month at the conference we went to, Lisa Bevere was selling these bracelets in the fight against human trafficking that said, "IT'S NOT OKAY!!!" The message was [obviously] that human trafficking is not okay. But I told my assistant Cathy that I wanted to get one of those just to wear for the times my husband says, "don't worry, it'll be okay" and I know what he means by that is, "once you've done all the crap it takes to fix this, it'll be okay" and I just want to hold up my little bracelet and scream, "IT'S NOT OKAY!!" For some reason when I came home and told him about the bracelet he did not find it the least bit funny.  But Cathy and I laughed ourselves silly over it.

So I had to fix that darn tree today.   It couldn't wait if my sanity depended on it.  Too much is coming up this week including my first big holiday party on Friday night when I will have all of our church women here.    Here's the finished product, after re-doing it.
My day today... for all of you stalkers friends who follow what I do moment to moment:

I got a few hours sleep last night and started my day before the sun came up.  Went to rehearsal at 7:30 am, taught class at 9:30, had a great church service at 10:30, and then came home and quickly ate two biscuits for lunch. 

Then I decided to go get a nail fill.  I have only done that once or twice before on a Sunday afternoon and today was such a day since I had no meetings.   I did not schedule any church meetings this afternoon/tonight because of the Thanksgiving weekend.    So many people were away it was just best to have the night off.   With all the stress of my day and having to re-do our tree, I told Lisa [manicurist], "give me something very fun and festive this time for Christmas" and I love the design she gave me which you can see here today in my latest Godtext.  

Honestly, the only way I got through taking all the ornaments and beads off of that tree and taking the lights off and putting new ones on was by talking to the Lord while I did it.  That and thoughts of my grandmother got me through the frustration of it.   Whenever I get to the end of my rope I think, "WWGD?"  (What would grandma do?)  She'd probably find something to be thankful for and sing or hum her way through it.  So I tried to do that.  For some reason I had the song, "Heavenly Sunlight" in mind.  I can remember that song from when I was a child and when I went and looked up the second verse today...hmmm ...interesting in "light" of my situation, pardon the pun.  ;)
 Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;

He is the Light, in Him is no darkness;
Ever I’m walking close to His side.

This was a very bright (pardon the pun again)  spot in my day discovering those song lyrics...

By the way, here's our Maddie girl today...snoozing contently while I re-did the tree.  Bless her heart.  Isn't she precious?

The night is young, my friends.  I wish I could just go to sleep now but I've got a kitchen to clean (can't wake up to it -- major depression trigger there...what about this don't our families understand?) and a project to finish up for NextJob. 

Toodles!  See you in blog land in the morning...

By the way, would any of you like to come to a deliverance/exorcism for my tree once the holidays are over?  I'll serve my double chocolate [devil's food - lol] cake and coffee and we can deal with the demon that keeps making the lights go out.  Ha ha ha!!!  Any excuse to eat chocolate cake...

Yesterday...Larry's birthday & more

Getting ready...

Special place for Larry...

Maddie chills while I'm making the cake...

Our first crop of tangerines that we took off of our tree yesterday...Savanna picked these.

Time to eat!

What's for supper?  Some of Larry's favorites ~ ceasar salad, chicken/broccoli casserole, twice baked potatoes, homemade biscuits, and carrot cake.  Yum!

Savanna got Larry a tie...
Dustin and I got him PS-3 Hockey 2010; Jordan got him another controller for the game. 

Cutting the cake...

The birthday guy...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Perfect day yesterday and headed for another one today...

Welcome to our home, now decorated for the Christmas holidays...come right on in...

As I type this right now it's a little after midnight and  I'm sitting on one of the swings on our back patio looking at three beautiful Christmas trees,  in front of a fire in the fireplace while my kiddos sit in the jacuzzi listening to "O Holy Night", laughing and talking.  Really, does it get better than this?  Don't think so!  Oh did I mention I'm wearing my Santa hat with leopard material?  And my leopard "Snuggie?"  Yep.  Here are some photos and a re-cap of our wonderful day yesterday with plans for today.  I'll be posting this after midnight so hereafter everything will refer to "yesterday".

Jordan makes the perfect cup of hot chocolate tonight (Ghirardelli) and takes a photo of it in front of my sugared fruit tree in the kitchen.

Another photo that he took...thought these were cool.

Maddie wanted to lay beside the dining room tree as we decorated it. You can see her big black scab completely fell off today and she is getting new skin. I know it looks bad, but trust me this is 200% better than what she was three weeks ago!!! Today is exactly three weeks after her accident, by the way and about 2 and 1/2 weeks since her operation. She is coming along so well.

Here's my wonderful young man himself -- I got behind the camera this time and took his picture.  I am ever so grateful he has not gotten his call to leave for basic training yet and we have Thanksgiving and hopefully Christmas together.  (fingers crossed...)

This has shaped up to be the perfect Thanksgiving weekend.  I haven't had one like this in two years.  Several reasons for this, namely unavoidable pastoral expectations/responsibilities the last two years that cut into the weekend and took a whole lot of our family time away.  That was especially hard for me because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  (This had nothing to do with my Africa trips the past two years, by the way...I got back each time from Africa on Saturday night and Thanksgiving was the next Thursday, so that was not a factor.)  Sometimes other things happen that are unavoidable though. 

So this year the path was cleared and we basically had the perfect Thanksgiving.  All my children home at once (which doesn't happen as often with all our work, school/college schedules), and very special friends who are like family joining us, setting my tables just like I like and lots of great food and even better conversation and then yesterday it was time to do what I always do the day after Thanksgiving -- set up the house for  Christmas.   

This year we have seven Christmas trees.  If you are wondering why and have never heard me say why just go here.   This year we've added a tree in  mine and Larry's room.   You might have thought it was Christmas day as Savanna Rose came bounding in our room as soon as she woke up saying, "Get up!  Get up!  It's time to decorate the house!"  She was excited.  It took literally all day, til' about 10 pm to get seven trees set up, lit and decorated plus get out decorations like our Christmas village and other special things. 

At about 6 pm we were so hungry and Larry took a break from decorating to make spaghetti and Jake and Becca were with us for supper.  By the time we ate we were able to eat at the big table out by the main Christmas tree.   Later in the evening Larry lit a fire in the fireplace out on the patio and we had hot chocolate. 

Today is a very special day as well in that it's Larry's birthday.  Today he's going golfing with friends and then tonight we will have his family birthday celebration.   All the kids will be here and Larry asked me to make one of his favorite dinners as well as the prizewinning carrot cake I  made for him last year.  So I'll be busy in the kitchen today while he's golfing.  Becca and Savanna will be here to help and we'll have a relaxing girls afternoon followed by a fun family evening.

 I'll post photos of his birthday later, so check back!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm not shopping.

Most people I know headed out to shop at the crack of dawn today.  I  have absolutely no interest in shopping on "Black Friday", nor have I ever.   I enjoy shopping, (only when I have money to spend - hate window shopping!) but the reason Black Friday doesn't appeal to me is that it involves large crowds and long lines. Yeah, I know that sounds bizarre for someone to say who's always getting up in front crowds large and small, talking.  But it's just who I am.  I try to go to stores or restaurants or whatever when the least amount of people are there.

I'm really going to enjoy a quiet day at home today pulling out my Christmas decorations and putting up my trees which is what I always do the day after Thanksgiving.  This is really important to me.  If you want to know why I will be putting up at least five Christmas trees this year, read this.   

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day ~ our house

Making my homemade yeast rolls this morning...also made homemade cornbread...mmmm  mmmm

Dustin and Maddie enjoying some quality time this morning.

Celeena enjoys her pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Love serving from my favorite tea pots...

Sitting out on the patio around the fire this evening...still needed blankets -- it was such a wonderful fall evening.
Dustin plays Apples to Apples with Celeena and Nate. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving @Shrodes

Savanna enjoys some morning reading and has Maddie duty while Momma makes pies.  She loves school but she told me last night she sure enjoys days like this too where she can sleep and read.  Me too.  :)

Pumpkin pie making...

Here's the finished product!   I make 'em from scratch, just like Grandma...

Setting up two tables in our dining room as well as a few tray tables.  

Maddie parks herself by the window to watch as Daddy preps the jacuzzi for lots of family/friends to enjoy...

She says, "Yep, I know my family loves me!"  Today she even spent some time with us on the patio, while I wiped down furniture, Larry cleaned the jacuzzi and we put out some special stuff for tomorrow night, as we plan to congregate here on the patio with the fireplace and candles, once it gets dark.   We'll get in the jacuzzi, swing on our swings, talk and drink coffee.  MMMmmm perfect night.

Just can't get enough of this sweet girl...she lights up our life every day.  She will be in heaven tomorrow with all these people here to pet her and love on her.  She's such a people person.  (Larry always corrects me, "hon, she's not a person."  Well, to me she is.  End of story.) 

Isn't she healing beautifully?  We are so BLESSED!  Our Thanksgiving miracle.

How to make a perfect
7 layer (24 hr) salad...

This salad is one of my most requested dishes and we always have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I thought I would post it now in case any of you want to make it in time for tomorrow, you can get the ingredients tonight.  It does require overnight (or I'd say at least 7-8 hours) refrigeration in order for the dressing to have the sugar fully dissolved and the taste just right.  I promise, if you bring this to an event you will get RAVE reviews and have absolutely none left in the bowl.  I took photos today as I made it so you could have your very own photo goes...

Use a pretty glass bowl to make salad.  Wash head of lettuce and tear put about half of it into pieces and place in glass bowl. 

On top of lettuce, put 6 hard boiled eggs that have been sliced.

On top of the eggs, add 1 cup of frozen green peas.

Then add the other half of the head of lettuce, ripped into small pieces, on top of that.

Get 2 little packs of these Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Pieces...I use this for convenience.  Before these existed I would fry up one pound of bacon very crisp and break into pieces on top.  Needless to say, much easier to buy the pre-made bacon.  Saves lots of time.

Place the bacon on top of the lettuce.

On top of this add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.

To make dressing you need 1 cup of sour cream and 1 cup of mayo.  I normally use Hellmann's.  I do think it makes a difference. 

Add 1 cup of mayo to 1 cup sour cream.

Then add approximately 1 and 1/2 to 2 Tbsp sugar.  I do this to taste.  You don't want it be too tangy but neither do you want it to be too terribly sweet.  Needs to be just the right mix.   

Pour dressing on top of cheese.  Spread like you're frosting a cake.

Finished product...on top...

...and from side.  Pretty!  Makes a beautiful presentation. 

Cover and refigerate preferably overnight.  Immediately before serving mix thoroughly.  Eat right away -- gets soggy and is not the same after a while.  I do not usually have any leftovers of this to even put away but if you did it probably wouldn't be real good to keep, as once the dressing gets mixed with everything else it would make the lettuce soggy. 

Hope you enjoy this family favorite. 

*Note:  Some people add a layer of chopped onions on top of the first layer.  My family doesn't like it that way, so I do not add them.  I include the 2nd layer of lettuce as one of my I still have 7 without the onions!