Update & Saying Goodbye To 2016

 

How was your Christmas this year?

Well hello there! So happy to see you here; pull up a chair and grab a hot beverage of your choice. I wanted to fill you in on how Christmas went, talk about 2016 drawing to a close and what that means to me.

Okay, so Christmas was absolutely terrific for me this year. My son, his wife and my two and a half-year-old grandson came to visit for the day on Christmas Day.

Pardon me while I do the proud Grandma thing and share a photo or two of the little guy. Isn’t he adorable?

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This is my son and daughter in law trying to get him to rest a bit while they try to recoup some of their energy. LOL, I asked my son Jim where Ethan gets his energy from and Jim swears he steals it from both of them.

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They brought us a present but as far as I was concerned their visit was a treasured present to me. According to his parents, Ethan did not nap at all on the two hour trip to our place.

He then spent the entire day ripping around from one end of our apartment to the other and back again. The only time he slowed down was after dinner.

We did try to get him to nap earlier in the afternoon when we put on DVDs of cartoons to entertain him and slow him down enough to get sleepy.

The Christmas decorations are now back in storage for another year as I prepare to say goodbye to 2016 and ring in 2017.

So what are your plans for the New Year?

I am still thinking about and trying to define what I want 2017 to look like for myself. I usually don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because every single time I have tried I ultimately crash and burn not long after January first!

That leaves me feeling horrible and berating myself for not being able to stick with anything. I dislike the idea of giving myself yet one more opportunity to mess up so I tend to avoid it like the plague.

There is a website that I love to visit and the topic of their latest article was Superior Alternatives to Old-School New Year’s Resolutions.

I read it and that article was so compelling and gave me a different way of looking at the subject.

Have a look at the article for yourself and see if it doesn’t get you thinking. Here is the link to the page (it will open in a new window).

Alternatives to Old-School New Year’s Resolutions article.

The new perspective I gained has me reconsidering my moratorium on making New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, I am considering actually picking out and declaring even a few goals/intentions.

While you are there; if you are a woman have a look at the entire website (don’t forget to tell your women friends and relatives) and consider subscribing (it is FREE). You will get access to a terrific e-book titled

How to Be One of the Successful 8%

A SIMPLE 5 STEP PROCESS FOR SETTING AND ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS

A short, comprehensive guide, complete with cartoons

If you are a man you can still read the article about alternatives to old-school new year’s resolutions, of course.

The website Profound Journey is

Exploring change, creativity & self-care

A personal growth site exclusively for women

 

You guys can help out the women in your life and let them know about the website. 😉 I would really appreciate it if you would help me spread the word about this wonderful resource for women.

I am signed up and every time I go look at a new article I learn something new. It shows me different ways to look at things and inspires me to try new things.

Okay, so far I have a rough list of what I want to aim for starting next month and continue for the eleven months following that.

I still have a lot of thinking to do because as I mentioned it is a rough list, a start. I need to get specific about the items on that list and define them as attainable, measurable goals so I will have something specific to aim for.

It is only by doing this that I will know I have achieved the goal. That would actually be a good resolution, or goal/intention, to start with; To be proud of me, for sticking with and accomplishing even one of my goals for the year.

I still have two full days to consider and think through what I want my 2017 to look like.I think I will get this posted and go get some more thinking done before Saturday night at midnight.

Thank you for dropping by to read my words and thoughts once again. You guys are awesome! If you are making resolutions or not I still wish you all a very Happy New Year.

Would you leave me a comment and tell me how you will be celebrating the New Year? Hubby and I will be here at home when the clock strikes midnight.

There will be no champagne, no watching a countdown on TV since we don’t have access, no party to go to. Likely though there will be lots of events to watch on the internet.

See you next year! Let’s all make it a good one. 😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wrapping All The Way Was A HUGE Success!

 

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I am extremely pleased to report that the play was performed for a packed church for both performances. Saturday night was the premiere and Sunday morning was an encore.

We shot video both times and I am waiting for the final go-ahead for approval to upload the Saturday evening event to YouTube so it can be watched along with the others you can find up there.

Some parents have yet to agree to that happening. None of the kid’s names are listed in the credits of the video. Either way, as I understand it, each cast member will be given a copy of the play on a USB thumb drive as a memory of their part in it.

The kids just saw the videos tonight during their regular Kids Club Tuesday night meeting. I am told by the director that they are very pleased with their efforts and had a lot of fun.

Saturday night we got underway at 5 P.M. sharp and it took about half an hour start to finish.

After the play ended and the kids had taken their bows there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation from everyone in the audience. A few minutes later they sang their final song as an encore.

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At the end, the Pastor presented the director (his wife) with roses for all her hard work and dedication.

She, in turn, thanked all who helped bring this play to reality and of course God for providing the children. At the beginning of October, there were only 3 children interested in being part of the cast.

All across the stage were 16 kids each with an integral part of the story. That is a miracle in itself, 13 more kids agreed to be in the play and they practiced every Tuesday night plus a couple of extra run-throughs right up to opening night.

In very short order they mastered complex dialogues, songs, actions to those songs, who they interact with and where to be on stage.

I am incredibly proud of these guys for getting up there and giving it all they had.

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I would be struck dumb with stage fright, I am sure. The girl who played Sparky had her cat die the night before the play and woke up the next morning to be told about her cat.

She still showed up and soldiered on even though she was grief stricken. Just amazing…I am in awe of all of them.

The children were sent downstairs to change out of their costumes in order to preserve them for the next morning’s encore performance. Shortly after that, their families were sent down to be with them.

There were tables reserved for the cast and their family members so that they could sit together during dinner. Aside from that, there were dishes, silverware and cups etc. for 175 people in all.

The Amish community was hired by the church to cater a full turkey dinner buffet style. All one had to do was file past the serving tables and be asked what you wanted to be added to your plate.

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There was a choice of white meat and dark, stuffing, peas, carrots, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls (both white and whole wheat) and butter.

There were people circulating among the crowd serving coffee, tea, and an orange drink. As soon as your meal was done there was someone who showed up to inquire if you would like dessert.

Dessert was a scoop of ice cream and a chocolate cupcake drizzled with marshmallow and caramel was beside it on the plate. Mmm, it was delicious.

Sunday’s encore performance of the play took place instead of the usual sermon. There were gremlins in the midst during that time.

The CD used to play the music that the children sing to, at one point, did not sync up correctly and they had to eventually go on without one horn blast to announce the Queen of Tuneville.

The audience laughed off the glitch and the children took it in stride and continued on. In the end, they received another standing ovation!

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Hubby and I were surprised at the church when we were there practicing for this Saturday’s worship (Kevin will be playing guitar up front and I am going to be on Soundboard again) as part of our Christmas Eve service.

Mary came up to us and handed us a present for Christmas and the card attached thanked us for all our work on Wrapping All The Way.

We were given two mugs with scripture on them and a large tin of Quality Street Chocolates. Mmmm…who doesn’t like getting spoiled? LOL 😉

There will be a Christmas Day service at the usual time too but I will be staying home to welcome my son, his wife and my 2 1/2-year-old grandson. They will be traveling  approx. 3 hours up to see us for the day from their house down south of us.

When my husband is done playing for the Sunday service he will be home to join us. Their plan is to get an early start on the trip up here so they can spend the better part of the day with us before having to return home.

I am looking forward to taking lots of pictures and video of the little guy since they stay small for such a short time.

Seeing pictures of him I am amazed at how much he looks like his Dad at that same age.

We are having ham this year. Frankly, we are done with poultry for a while and I am thankful that I did not have to cook or clean up a turkey dinner.

I am looking forward to seeing my son, daughter in law and grandson. It has been a long time since seeing them last.

Their gifts are waiting for them under the tree and I can’t wait to see them open them on Sunday. That to me is my greatest joy…seeing others opening gifts more so than opening gifts given to me.

I will end this post here as there is a lot of house cleaning and baking I want to get done before they get here.

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But first I want to wish everyone reading this a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you celebrate something else I wish you a happy one of those as well. 🙂

Thank you for your support during this first year of my blog. I appreciate each and every one of you whether you are following my blog or just happened to stumble upon this post on your first visit here.

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Tomorrow Night It’s Curtain Time!

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The Kids’ Club Christmas play has it’s opening night tomorrow night at our church. The play is titled Wrapping All The Way and it tells the story of Jesus’ birth in a manger, the true meaning of Christmas.

There are several videos on YouTube if you would like to look it up and see basically what it is about and what it looks like. Just type ‘Wrapping All The Way’ in the search.

We have been practicing several times a week and our last run-through will be tonight at 6:30 p.m. before tomorrow night’s official production.

The play will begin tomorrow night at 5 p.m. and right after the play we all go downstairs for a full turkey dinner being put on by the church.

Everyone is welcome – the entire cast, the production team (which includes me on the soundboard and my husband who will be running the video camera) and all members of the audience whether they attend our church or not.

I took some pictures of the stage to give you an idea of what it will look like. Once all the permission forms are handed in pictures and video can be taken of the children performing the play.

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All safety steps are being taken to protect the children’s identity when it comes to sharing any photos or video of the night.

Things were a little rough in the beginning but now the children have their parts down and are beginning to shine in the spotlight. They are getting better at using the microphones, making my job easier.

The youngest cast member is just 6 years old and she is a dynamo! Wow, she has a great singing voice and not only knows her lines but pretty much everyone else’s.

She is a natural born actress. Her role is a dual one; playing Tanzie the star of the gift wrapping station in the town square and Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The story is basically one of a fictional town called Tuneville where the citizens like Christmas so much they declare every day to be Christmas Day.

They get so caught up in the excitement, gifts, and commercialism of the holiday that they forget what the true meaning is. So Tanzie tells them the story of Mary, Joseph and the angels heralding the birth of Jesus.

 

I am excited to be on the team helping to bring this play to life and I must admit a little nervous too. I just don’t want anything to happen that will detract from all the hard work these children have put in.

We have a whiteboard right next to the soundboard that has this written on it in red marker. “God gave you His best what are you giving Him?”

That always gives me pause to think every time I sit down at the controls. It is time to head off to the church for our final practice so I will finish and post this now.

Thanks to everyone that stopped by my blog to read what I had to say today.

“Trick Or Treat” Halloween Approaches Once Again

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Yes, it is that time of year again folks; time to prepare for greeting all the ghosts and ghouls at your door looking for candy and various other treats.

Hubby and I were in WalMart the other day and couldn’t help but stare at the shelves upon shelves of the calorie-laden, pricey and very large variety of candies being offered for sale.

The most expensive of these being those with chocolate involved. Cases of fun sized chocolate bars for around $10.00 Canadian. Yikes! In some neighborhoods, you would need several cases.

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These candy displays have been set up for weeks now and I have ranted about stores pushing the holidays on us earlier and earlier every year in another post some nine months ago.

In case you missed it you can read that one here (link opens in a new window)  Commercialism Of Holidays Has To Stop!

The other day when we were in the store we noticed the scrum of people eagerly dumping boxes and bags into their shopping carts; like they were hoarding in anticipation of a  coming apocalypse.

I am a parent of two sons and I remember the years when they were young taking them out to do trick or treating in the neighborhood. Some years it rained and some years there was snow!

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When we lived in the country I had to drive them to the closest city in order to find enough houses in one place to make it worthwhile. A quick 15 minute trip in the car got us there in no time.

I would arm them with plastic pumpkins with handles when they were really young and later when they were in grade 4 or 5 and on we used pillowcases. You could really collect a haul with pillow cases.

I still remember them climbing into the back seat when they were done, their faces beaming with happiness. Their masks discarded on the seat beside them or the floor.

Excited chatter erupted from the back seat on the drive home as they rummaged through their loot exclaiming things like, “I got cans of pop!” or “Trade you three of these for that bag of chips”.

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One year we attended a Halloween party held at the local community center where prizes were given for best homemade costume.

I am pleased to report that both of my sons won that year for being a clown and Freddy Kruger. It was worth the time spent making the costumes when I saw how happy they were to have won.

The prizes were free movie rentals and a bag of snacks of their choice along with a bottle of pop of their choice at the corner store.

My sons are both grown men now and my eldest son has a son of his own with whom he walks around their neighborhood to continue the tradition.

Last year my grandson was a Jedi from Star Wars at 1 year old. Yes, he was adorable in his costume. See! 🙂

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My son dressed up in similar garb to accompany him and introduced him as his padawan.  I haven’t heard yet what this year’s choice will be.

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Out here in the country, we do not have to stock up on candy or worry about answering the door for trick or treaters as children in the area will likely be going into the town just like I did with my children back in the day.

The best part of Halloween for me is the candy sales in stores afterward. This year it will be the day after. Halloween, October 31, lands on a Monday so any Halloween specific candy or treats will be at a discounted price come Tuesday.

My best friend Trish and I used to raid the stores the day after the holiday and stock up. We would throw the lot into a huge bowl and set it on the table along with our drinks; tea  I believe it was.

We would then play cards, after the boys were in bed, well into the night; laughing, talking and munching on candy. Oh, those were the days, when I got to spend a lot of time with one of my best friends.

This year will be quiet in comparison. My husband and I will likely treat it like any other night. Our celebration days are past us now that our children are grown.

I am thankful that I had those years and that excitement with my sons when they were young but I am just as thankful now for the peace and solitude of the country.

My wish is that all who celebrate by dressing up and going door to door have a safe and fun evening. To those who are opening their doors to receive them in their various costumes; I hope you have a great time as well.

Before I post this I wanted to add one more interesting development. I wonder if you have seen this in the past couple of years. It is called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

By placing a pumpkin outside your door  that has been painted in a teal color you signify that your house will provide non-allergenic treats to the trick or treaters who are allergic.

These allergies are to peanuts, gluten, milk and all manner of other sensitivities. What they do is provide non-candy treats from somewhere like the dollar store in lieu of candy.

I think this is marvelous so that all can celebrate Halloween. This was never an issue back in the day but it seems allergies are abundant now.

The end of October is upon us already. It will soon be time to start thinking about and decorating for Christmas. November comes first though not that the stores are going to acknowledge that. LOL. 😉

Thank you for visiting my blog once again my friends. Tell me, do you have plans for Monday night? If you are going to dress up; what is your costume going to be?

Please leave your comment or question in the comment section below and I try to get to each and every one I receive. Happy Halloween one and all! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, the lazy, hazy days of summer!

 

 

Most of us long for the lazy, hazy days of summer after what seems like an eternity dealing with winter weather. I must admit I appreciate warm weather more than cold. Although, there is a limit.

This summer we have had far more than our fair share of heat waves and heat warnings where the humidex soars and people can become ill. I am asthmatic and some days this summer I have had to reach for my puffer on occasion and seek out shade, a fan, a cold drink or some way to cool down.

Trying to sleep at night when the temperature overnight is in the low 20s (degrees celsius) is not an easy task. It can leave one extremely tired the following morning when you wake up to drenched sheets and feel just as exhausted as when you laid down. You end up slogging through the next hot, humid day and you need to wash the bedding again. Ugh. Adding another chore onto the list is not what one needs when a lack of sleep is involved.

Is it hot where you are? We have been extremely fortunate to have found and rented this amazing apartment out in the country. Our landlords are absolutely wonderful people and they graciously allow us to share their swimming pool, especially when the heat is stifling. We are lucky indeed and thankful to have found this oasis in the desert that this summer represents.

Speaking to my sister has made me aware that many people are faced with drought and this heat combined with a lack of rain, to cool off the temperatures and water the parched grass and earth, is putting everyone in these areas at risk of fires and heat-related illnesses. Rather than the images pictured above people in those areas are faced with images such as these.

 

 

Without a doubt, water levels in area lakes and streams are down to all time lows. Likewise, hydro bills are soaring as we resort to fans and air conditioners to at least keep our homes cooler. Fire bans are going up in these dry areas for fear that a random errant spark could begin a fire that would quickly become out of control and not easily put out.

My sister has even mentioned that she has seen leaves falling from the trees ahead of the normal fall schedule due to the lack of moisture. Sad indeed, considering it is still officially summer.

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog, my friends. I do appreciate it and if it is hot, humid and dry where you are please remember to stay hydrated, find shade, stay cool and stay well.

An Apology And Five Items

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Hi folks, I would like to offer my apology first. It has been some 10 days since my last blog post and that is far too long in between posts. I was aiming to have a new blog post up every few days or so. I really would like to get to the stage where I can write a post every day but frankly, I have a lot of balls I am trying to keep up in the air beside this blog that I have started and am thoroughly enjoying (a YouTube channel I am trying to build, housework, other commitments and getting back into sketching and artwork). All of this, of course, takes time and oops…the blog ball dropped and so has the artwork one. I just wanted to come right out and tell you that I do appreciate the follows and the comments and I am taking this seriously. My main goal is to work hard at keeping to some sort of a schedule so you can better predict when I will have a new post ready for you to read. So, my profound apologies for dropping the ball and I will strive to do better.Thank you for bearing with me while I sort out how to make all of this work together.

I wanted to get that out of the way before I start in on my blog today suggested by the daily prompt which is: Five Items  A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

There is no direction on how long I would be stuck on this deserted island in the prompt so given that my five items would be a Stephen King book (Under The Dome which is 1074 pages OR It which is 1138 pages) one of those should keep me occupied for quite a while. My second item would be a huge tube of sunscreen because I would not want to be fried to a crisp by the time I am rescued. I want to be healthy as can be but with a wonderful tan. My third item would be a case of survival rations like the armed forces use. They will sustain life until I am rescued and all I would have to worry about would be finding or creating shelter and fire. Speaking of fire that would be my fourth item…a lighter so I wouldn’t have to struggle with the whole Boy Scout stick and friction way of starting a fire. My fifth and final item would be a suitcase of clothes (that counts as one item, right?) so that I would have something clean to put on each day and this gives me time to clean the clothes already worn by beating them on a rock at the shore. I know I have not accounted for hygiene items such as soap or toothpaste but hey, I am only allowed five items. Maybe I could smuggle some of those in my suitcase while I was packing my clothes. Besides, this is a deserted island and there would not be anyone by myself to have to deal with the stench and even that could be dealt with if I swam a lot. Of course, this all depends on the presence of things like sharks. LOL

Really, with all things considered this could be sort of a vacation for me. No phones to answer, no housework to speak of besides sweeping the floor of my shelter with a palm frond or something similar. I would have to learn how to create pots and dishes using coconut shells, read my book, eat my rations, clean my clothes and swim. The only real downside I could see to this whole situation would be the lack of internet and computer on this island. Oh, and any possible wild animals that lived there naturally that might want to eat me or cause me great harm. That would suck too. Okay, is there a way off this island? Have you seen Gilligan, The Skipper or MaryAnne? How about Ginger, The  Professor or the Howells? Oh…it is just me huh? Fine, I will make do then with what I have brought to the island. Please keep your eyes on the sky for the smoke signals I will be sending, thanks. If you could send a boat or helicopter my way it would really be appreciated. Bye, then, I will see you later. Try not to be too jealous of my tan I know it is snowy and cold out there.Now where did I put that book?

Thank you for reading my post today. I do appreciate it. If you would be so kind, leave me a note in the comment section what your five items would be. That would be so interesting to see what others would pack. I might even have to revise my list if you come up with some better ones than I have thought of. =)

Commercialism Of Holidays Has To Stop!

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Okay, I understand that Valentine’s Day is coming up on February 14th and I can expect to see Valentine’s Day merchandise in the stores. After all, there has to be someone to sell the chocolates in the heart boxes and the bags of cinnamon hearts (my favorite) and flowers and so on. I was in for a huge shock though when strolling through Walmart the other day to see all that with Easter stuff beside it!  Come on! Easter? Really Walmart? Easter Sunday and Monday is March 27 and 28th this year.  Good grief…we haven’t even reached February yet. So they hauled out the Easter stuff trying to get sales well over two months away. Let’s do a little math, shall we? There are 8 days left of January (as of the writing of this post), there are 29 days in February this year (a leap year) and a further 26 days in March before Easter gets here. Adding all of that together gives us 63 days of seeing this stuff being hawked from every shelf, broadcast over store intercom systems and pushed at us on TV advertisements. Ugh….

That wasn’t bad enough we walked through Dollarama today and on one aisle there was Easter to the left and Valentines to the right with St. Patrick’s Day at the end of that aisle! Sorry for the rant but this truly gets me riled up…before Halloween is over they are pushing Christmas with carols on the musac and all. Please let me know in the comment section if this gets to you too. On a side note have you noticed that for every holiday there is a candy associated with it? I think they are training our children to anticipate the holidays by bringing these treats out early to get them bugging their parents for the next toy or trinket for the upcoming holiday. Sigh, I will step off my soapbox now but I just had to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening everybody. I appreciate you stopping by to give what I have to say a read. Thanks also for all my new followers – you are truly appreciated. =)