Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas with a "W"

David emailed me this short story. It is amazing how one mix up can change the outlook of the meaning of "Winter Play" at a public school. Thank God for our little children who can speak loads without saying a word. The story is very heartwarming and eye opening. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Have a Merry Christmas!

Christmas with a "W" --- Author unknown

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. I had cut back on nonessential obligations--extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a 6 year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant" I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there would be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So in the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song.

Because of the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as Christmas, I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love," I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bight snow caps upon their heads. Those in the front row-center stage -- held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the would sing "C is for Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, " H is for Happy," and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a small quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down -- totally unaware her "M" appeared as a "W." The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W." Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear:

And, I believe, He still is. Amazed in his presence.... Humbled by His Love.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Going Postal"

Monday I went to the post office to send off my son's Christmas gifts only to find that it closes between 12pm - 1pm. I had never heard of such a thing. I was born and raised in Tampa, FL so our post offices were always open. Come to find out because our town is so small (around 1200 people) that they close for lunch because there only 2-3 people that work there at a time.

I was on a time schedule so I went to the other local post office which is about 5-7 miles away in Leesburg. They were open so I went inside only to find a line which I figured because of the season.

Now, I live in a county that is around 85% older adults (65 and above). I was the youngest one in the post office in the line, the next youngest was in her 50's, I would guess. The reason I tell you this is because the whole time I am standing there waiting all I hear is complaining of the line being so long that the clerks need to hurry up, work harder, and open another line. Also, one of the clerk's felt she needed to explain her lunch break to the crowd because she had to close. This started a whole bunch more complaining.

I was blown away how mean some of these people were. My thoughts: All of these people were mostly if not all retired. What do they have to do all day? Do they have a social event, golf game, or bingo that they cannot miss.

I am not disrespectful of older persons; however, I found it quite irritating that no one could give these hard working people a break. Christmas for postal workers is the largest and busiest time of year. Where was all the Christmas spirit? I have to admit that standing in line was not what I wanted to do or the only thing I had to do that day, but I was not going to complain.

During these hard times of people being laid off, I try not to complain about anyone. I mean some people are blessed to have a job that they enjoy while others have a job they can't stand, but need one to provide for themselves or families. So, I feel if I complain about someone that maybe someone last day. Employers have their pick now because there are so many people needing jobs, so I believe they take advantage. If you don't perform to what they want then you are out and the next guy is in.

Well with all of this said, just remember this is the holiday season. Give some joy to others by wishing them a Merry Christmas with a smile.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Darth Vader

I was decorating my blog with all the "widgets" that are all available and came across "Darth Vader Quotes." It seems that everytime someone goes to my blog there will be a new quote from Darth Vader. I just use it on my blog since I am married to a Star Wars nut.

Catching Up

Hello Everyone,

I have been so busy with college that I have not been doing a very good job of keeping up with my blog. So many things have happened through the last few months.

Where to start......back in August David was offered a position of youth pastor at our church that we have been attending since January. August was our planning month, so we did an official kick-off of the Youth group the first week of September by going to The Night of Joy event at Disney. Night of Joy is a christian event of many christian bands and is a huge night for youth groups.

Anyways, in August we were hard at work trying to come up with a name for the youth group since the church had not had one in 2 years. A few of the members of the church tried to get the youth group going about 1 year ago, but it did not happen for some reason. However, they did have a meeting (the year before) about names and such and then handed the meeting minutes over to us which listed all of their ideas. We loved "Youth R3volution" and so it became the name of our youth group. So the next phase was to give it a "look" or a logo that so many youth groups have now. We have done some heavy research on the subject of logos and what they do for a youth group. David was soon at work doodling and we had good idea what it would look like, however; the cross was just not right. Then I asked him do draw the cross that is on his necklace (it was a wedding gift from me) and that is how it all started.

The colors on this blog are not showing correctly, but at least you get the idea what our logo is. The 3 started out as kind of thing that kids do when they are texting by using numbers instead of letters, but then after looking at it a while David and I wanted it to symbolize the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). We had a friend of mine do the graphic art for us.

September/October were big months for Cecilla. First, she had braces put on her teeth. Then, she turned "sweet 16" and also went to homecoming for the first time. She was beautiful. I still cannot believe that she is growing up so fast. She is my baby. She still loves to curl up in my bed. There are times when David and I are looking for her and find her laying in our bed watching a movie, playing the DS, or just texting her friends.
The joys of being a mother are endless. On the flip side the attitude, mouth, and the rolling eyes that come with being a mother of a teenage daughter I could do without. I now know the frustration that my mother went thru with 5 daughters. I don't know if I could survive it. With saying that, I love my little girl and would not have it any other way. She is worth it and I am enjoying seeing her grow up into a young lady.
November has been some ups and downs. Dominic moved to PA the week before Thanksgiving. He had a job interview up there and still has not heard back yet. However, God is good and he is working at UPS part-time and looking for something full time. He is staying with his girlfriend's Aunt who has offered to help him get on his feet by letting him stay with her. I still can't believe he is living up north in the freezing snow. He has always lived in Florida. I miss him and it is very hard letting go. He is 20 now, soon to be 21 and I still find myself worrying about him.
Our year is coming to an end very soon and it seems to have zoomed by. I have survived another semester in school. David has survived me being in school. Finally Christmas is here!!!!! Christmas is my favorite time of the year. It brings back so many memories as a kid. I remember the traditions that my family had and still carrying on. I miss my Mom-Maw the most this time of year because she loved Christmas so much.
My heart sings when I remember the reason for the season. Jesus the King of Kings was born. A gift from God. It is not about the gifts, stockings, Santa, or a tree. It is the birth of a little boy who will spend a few short years on this Earth to die on a cross for me. Hallelujah! Christ is Born.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Most of you know that I have been back in college for the past 6 months. I am majoring in Environmental Engineering. David and I went to visit one of the universities I am interested in, University of Central Florida. On our way to the university, my stomach had a little bit of butterflies and I was extremely excited; when we actually were entering the campus I was in awe, could not believe how huge this campus was.

While we were there I found out that it is the 5th largest university in the country. They have 3 huge buildings for the Engineering College. I was amazed at this and a little taken back at the size. I mean, I go to a community college that can fit into just one of the buildings.

Anyways, I went to meet a advisor and go over my transcripts and find out when would be the best time to transfer to the university. My appointment was a 3PM and we left in plenty of time. We parked in the parking garage the advisor told us to and then headed to her office. Of course, it was raining, but not to bad. My goodness the walk was long to the right building. We were lost and did not get to the advisor's office til about 20 after. I am still amazed at the size of the campus, it is like a town in of itself.

The advisor was wonderful. She gave me some great advise and encourgement. The best thing I found out is that I can double major for only one more semester worth of classes. I can major in Environmental and Civil Engineering. I was excited to here that and I am really considering doing just that.

I still cannot believe that I am doing all of this. Sometimes I wonder if I am up to the task, but I know that I want this accomplishment so badly. I know that it is going to be challenging, but it is worth it. Going back to college is something, I did not think was possible. But as always, with God all things are possible.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Transformation

Well I finally started the blog that I have been thinking about for a year or so. I wanted to share with you the transformation of the house that has been going on for about a year now. When David and I started dating the house was very much a bachelor pad. David had only had the house for year at that time. The floors were all vinyl flooring except for the bathroom and master bedroom. The bathroom had been upgraded to ceramic tile by the previous owners and the master bedroom had an ugly gray shag carpet. It needed to be cleaned. I remember coming into the house the first time and seeing a stack of boxes as high as the ceiling (8 or 9 feet) and about 4 feet long in the living room. I asked David what was in them and he continued to tell me that he was going to be moving in about 5 years so he just saved his boxes. He wanted to move back to Altamonte Springs where he lived for 8 years prior but he bought the house in Lake County because Orange County was too expensive. So his plan was to get some equity in the house then sell and move.

Well, he did not plan on getting married, "adopting" children, having 2 dogs, the housing market, or the economy. Also I told him that it was a cute house and I loved the property. Our house sits on a little over a 1/4 acre with a fenced back yard with a double gate along the back of the property so we can easily access the back yard through the side street. With all these things he began to look at his house differently.

So the house was becoming a home. A little womanly touch and a lot of patience on David's part.

First we painted the bathroom because it was originally white with blue squiggles on it. I have no idea what this was all about but the previous owners had it. I saw this bathroom set at Walmart; it is kind of a kids bathroom scene but David and I loved it. It is a jungle scene with all kinds of colors. I loved it because the first thing you see is a lion. Which most of you reading this know that my maiden name is "Lyons" so we bought the set and painted the bathroom a jungle green.

The biggest part of the problem with the house was the floors. David and I looked at every option. We went to many places and talked to many installers. We received quote after quote with the lowest being around $6000.00 dollars installed carpet and tile. We received the largest quote around $13,000.00 for wood laminate. It did not mattered we were amazed at the prices. Our house is only 1000 SF. Well around Christmas 2007 we joined Sam's club. As we looked around the store I noticed that they sold flooring. We left that day not looking at it because we were in a hurry and it was the holidays and did not want to purchase anything large at that time. About a month later David and I returned to the store to look again. The laminate flooring was reduced in price for a certain color because the were not going to carry it. We loved the color. It was a brazilian cherry. We calculated how many boxes we would need and bought the flooring. Now David and I had no idea how to do the flooring so I researched it online. That following weekend we started in the backroom. We borrowed a circular saw to cut with a began. It came out great. The only thing that we had to do was purchase 1/4 round to match. Well we quickly found out that brazilian cheery 1/4 round was being discontinued. Also Sam's did not carry this so we had to find it at Home Depot. We called several Home Depot's to find out if they had any of the color. Some had 1 or pieces but finally we found enough at the Home Depot way in Orlando. With all of the tools and materials we spent under $3000 dollars for doing ourselves.

All of our floors in the house except for the bathroom are beautiful brazilian cherry. David and Dominic and some help from my brother in law finished it in 3 weekends. They worked on it sometimes till late at night. After it was complete David and I could not believe how much it changed the house.

Then it was my turn. Let me just start by saying that we purchased a yellow lab the April after we were married. His name is Jack. He was a chewing machine and suffered from separation anxiety. All of the furniture was his snacks and toys. He had chewed my Thomsville couch and ate David's lazyboy recliner. I decided to take Jack to training and do some hard tough love. Jack is now a great, loving, and loyal part of our family. With all of this said after the floors were done I started looking for furniture. I found a couch and loveseat set that I liked at a local family owned furniture store and we bought a new kitchen table at Sams. With all of this new furniture and the new floors the house was very different. Then my sister Roni gave me the antique armoire that I purchased for her several years ago. She loves it but she needed the space in her house. So now we decided it needed to stay in the family. From there we have not done anything since about November of 2008.

I needed to paint. The kitchen had a cow themed wallpaper border from the previous owners and all the walls were stark white. Also when David and I married; David had one of the rooms totally filled with toys and our bedroom was lined wall to wall with action figures. Yes wall to wall; most of you know that David is a star wars nut. He collects mostly Star Wars but does have batman, superman, GI Joes, Xmen, and some others. After telling him I could not continue to have Darth Maul looking down at me any longer he graciously started to sort out his favorites and went down to one wall in the bedroom and pack up the all of the toys in the spare room and put all of it in the garage.

In November we painted the main part of the house a Golden Tan. The Kitchen, Dining Room, Living Room and hallway are painted the Golden tan with the trim and interior doors (they all were brown and two of them had to be patched because they had holes) a Vanilla Almond. We could not believe the difference. The house feels homey and warm. David was very excited and I really was happy with the result. I could finally put up pictures. I have been living here for almost 2 years by that time and had not put up any pictures. All David had up was some pictures of his college football team and two pictures in hallway of his family. Funny thing about the pictures in the hallway is that the normal height person could not see them because he hung them so far up on the wall. David did not notice it until I told him not everyone is 6'4" we had a laugh on that one.

The best part of this transformation is that the room that was the toy room is now a office/toyroom. I felt bad for asking David to going down to one wall. So I came up with an idea to reinvent his toyroom. I bought wood, white paint, brackets and had Dominic put them up. I kept the walls white because I knew David would be covering them with toys. So the toy room is complete and looks great. David says it is his favorite room. David has lots of ships that were loose in his collection of toys so I bought the fishing line and hooks and he put up the ships from the ceiling. It is a big kid toy room but also very useable for an office. I told him this is the way to do a room. He agreed and smiles every time he goes past that room.

So the house is really coming together. We have not finished painting the bedrooms but we are starting in our room this past week. We are painting it a mute gold color to match the bedding set. I will post pictures after it is done.

I know that some of you have not been to the house and I wanted to share. Later on in the year we will probably paint the outside and finally put some new landscape. The outside of the house is a ugly dark eggplant color with a shade of burgundy shutters. Again, this is the color of the house from the previous owners. David says he sees nothing wrong with it. FIGURES!!!

Well enjoy the pictures and God Bless!!!!