Surprising my parents for Christmas

Welcome to day 10 of 12 Days of Christmas. I missed yesterday due to our internet being a bit weird, but that’s okay.  Let’s talk about today.

A memory from Christmas.  Back in fall 2008, I had just started working at a full-time job and yet to accrue a lot of vacation days.  I had seen my parents the beginning December when they flew out for a visit in California, but I told them I would not be home for Christmas because I couldn’t get the time away.  Christmas that year was on a Thursday, so we were scheduled to have the 24th and 25th, but had to work Friday the 26th, so I wasn’t even free for the weekend.

Well, enough people talked to my boss about it, so he decided (I worked for a large corporation with many offices) that our office would instead work, Thursday the 24th, and then we could have a four-day weekend.  Well my little wheels began turning.  I could still go home – but what if it was a surprise?

That’s exactly what I did.  I told my sister, so someone would know where I was.  I told my parents I had the 24th and 25th off.  I even called my mom from work on the 24th and told her that I was at home doing nothing.  I left work, went to the airport, caught an over night flight.  Arriving in Virginia around 7:00am the next morning, I picked-up a car, found my way to our city, stopped at a grocery store for some food, and knocked on the door around 10:00am.  I talked to my sister right before I knocked so she would know I was there and we also talked about how I would “arrive.”  One thought was she would call and tell them there was a present outside, but instead I just went up and knocked.  My dad answered and he was so shocked he could hardly say anything, and my mom came up from our basement and hopped up and down screaming, “Yay, yay, yay!”  I actually have a video of this event, but it’s in a format that I can’t upload – my apologies – but I do have a picture of the three of us from the weekend.  I had to fly back to California the same Sunday this picture was taken.



At my parents church Christmas weekend.

That is definitely one of my favorite Christmas memories.


Feasting on Food

Another day, another chance to link up with 12 Days of Christmas.

Today is about food.  What do you find on your table during Christmas, a specific recipe, etc.  For us… it’s really simple.  Some sort of meat (primarily ham), a side dish that is usually of a potato content, a vegetable, and… that’s about it.  Occasionally we might try something different but when it has just been my parents and myself for Christmas, that’s about all we eat.  Plain, simple, easy.  Keeps things uncomplicated.

I so wish I could write something much more interesting and creative, but my family is so laid back that the holidays have never really been a big deal.  Not is an bad way, just in an, “oh.. Christmas is next week.  We should probably get food for dinner” kind of way.

Maybe we’ll have grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch!  I’m going to suggest that.  I love grilled cheese and can never get enough.  Not a fancy type.  Using velveeta, for me, makes the best sandwiches.  Oohh… perhaps I should suggest that as a new traditional Christmas lunch for our family.  Or just for myself!  :0)

I hope you have fun and delicious food that you get to share with loved ones on Christmas.

Light the way

Welcome to week 2 of 12 Days of Christmas link-up!

The topic of today is my outdoor decoration.  Whelp… yeah… um… none.  But if you have been reading this series I’m pretty sure you knew there would be no out door decorations.

Our neighborhood, however, has a few houses that have decorated, including a 5ft inflated Santa Clause that stands proudly on a rooftop.  The house I like the most uses these out door lamps sitting along the top of the roof.  I had never seen these types of lamps before, but my dad told me they have been around for a while.   Maybe they are more popular here because of the flat roofs.


Neighbor house

I’m not how much justice the picture does.  I really like the look of the house and the simplicity of the lanterns.

On another note – we have our tree up!  See:


Notice the LED glow near the top.  We got a new strand of lights.  :0)  The plan is to finish decorating the tree in the next couple of days.


Bring you good news

If an angel suddenly appeared before you, what would be your response?  Would you be excited, realizing what exactly is before you?  Would you doubt what you are seeing is real?  Would you challenge what is being told to you because maybe you don’t believe in the angels at all?

Many people know the basics of what the Bible says about Jesus being born.  They’ve seen the nativity scenes where subdued men and animals surround a baby lying in a feed trough with his mother kneeling next to the trough.  Simply told baby is born and some men come and see what is going on.

But why are they there?  Who told them about this baby?  Did they just happen to be standing around the farm yard working and realize there were sounds of crying so they rushed to see what happened?  No.  Half these guys where greeted by a massive group of angels who announced the birth.  Now wouldn’t that be an amazing, albeit shocking birth announcement.  You look up to see the sky filled with angels and they are talking to you, “Hey!  We’ve got some good news.  This baby was just born and you’ve got to go see him.”  To top it off they start shouting praise for the birth.

So if you saw that, how in the world would you respond.  I think I would feel a bit dumbfounded.  Looking at others, I would be like, “Did you just see that?  Did that really happen?  Should we go find this kid?”  The shepherds, well, it doesn’t really mention their exact response, but they do decide among themselves to go check things out.  You can read this account in the book of Luke, chapter 2, verses 8 to 20.  They were pretty stocked.

In the same book of Luke, you can read about two more account of angels delivering good news to people.  The first is Zechariah, whose wife Elizabeth gave birth to Jesus’ cousin John.  Zechariah questioned what was happening and ended up not being able to talk for months.  The second account is with Mary.  She is a bit surprised at the news that she will have a baby but comes to terms with what is happening to her and praised God for choosing her.  You can read these accounts in Chapter 1 of Luke.

I really like the responses of people as the angels come to talk with people about how Jesus will be coming to earth.  Who would have ever expected for God to show up in the form of a baby?  Each response is very human and very different and speaks to me about different events that happen in my own life.  I very much enjoy reading the book of Luke.

Oh, those other guys at the nativity scene.  The rich looking wise men.  You can read about them in the book of Matthew, chapter 2.  They had no angels come and announce Jesus.  Instead they saw a star shining in the sky and followed it until they found Jesus.  That’s pretty crazy.  Seeing a massive star and knowing that is leads you to an expected king.  They followed it all the way to where Mary, Joseph and Jesus were living.  Yep, not the feeding through.  This was actually at a house – different time period than the shepherds.  Jesus was a bit older by this point.

I would say check out both accounts if you haven’t.  They are worth pondering and helping you understand why you see a nativity scene at Christmas and just what (or whom) made these men come to see a baby.



Salutations Jolly St Nick

Hey big guy,

“I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle”  I promise I won’t shoot my eye out.  Well, I guess it’s okay if I don’t get the Red Ryder.  Yes, that really isn’t on my wish list.

So how are you Santa?  It’s been quite a while since we have since each other.  All those years of taking pictures with you – all the way into my 20s.  I didn’t mind.  It was for mom after all.

Here’s the deal, Santa.  I know you don’t actually bring me anything.  I knew you never did.  I always knew that you weren’t real, but simply a part of us celebrating the holidays.  We never saw presents from Santa.  They were always from mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa.  Even the stocking.  Grandma never failed.

Yet, I don’t mind finding you, sitting on your lap and hoping that the things I deeply wish for will arrive.  What would I like this year?  First, I would like new skin.  Literally.  Those ovens at work a pretty hot and I’ve gotten a lot of scars in the past few months.  I know they are reminders of hard work and interesting days of feeding students.  It would be nice to have my arms back from before the experience, but can I keep the experience as well?

Second, I would like a place to call my own.  Not a shared room, not a shared house, just my little space.  Is that too much?  Can I have a cat in it as well?  Well, yes I supposed I would get lonely and it would be nice to have people around to share meals and cuddly my kitty and laugh and play games.  Can I just have the house next door to my family so they aren’t so far away?

Lastly, I would like lots of money.  I want a money tree so I can just go out and pick what I need.  It’s much better to have money and not the lessons of blessings and endurance.  Well, the lessons are good too.  Can I learn just by the work of picking the money from the tree?

It really isn’t much Santa and maybe they aren’t things I actually need.  It’s a good thing that you aren’t really going to give me these things.  Otherwise I just might not know what it means to live.

Love Always,




Belt it out Christmas!

Okay, if you have been checking out my post for the last few days, you know by now that I am participating in a link-up called 12 Days of Christmas.


The topic for today is…. bum ba bum!!!  Music.  It’s the holidays and if you’ve been listening to the radio, surely you have heard a Christmas tune or two.  I’ve actually been listening since before Thanksgiving, as one of the local stations started way back then.  There are a few that I don’t really care for. Another problem was when I realized that after a week of listening I was hearing the same songs over and over again.  Thankfully they keep tossing in a few new ones to keep things fresh.

So, there are two songs I really like.  The first is Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) by Amy Grant.  I found an acoustic version by a group called Hip Kitty.  I like the sound of the guitar.  Most times you hear someone singing this song, you get a lot of symphonic sounds.  The guitar sound, for me, is a bit cleaner.

The other song I really enjoy is White Christmas.  Not the slow, melodic version, but the do wop version by the Drifters that was in the movie “Home Alone”.  I heard a version this year, same style done by Michael Bublé with Shania Twain.

I could easily add a few more, but I’ll keep things short and sweet.  Hope you have some great tunes to jam to this Christmas.

How pretty it all looks

Need a bit of Christmas cheer?  When I do, I find an area lit by glowing lights, garland, stars and bells.  Even better when there is snow falling around me, but that only rarely happens.

So, Day 3 of 12 days of Christmas want to see my decorations.  I have sad news:  there are none.  Whaa??  You don’t like Christmas?  You hate decorations?  You are allergic to trees?

No, it’s none of the above.  I just am not a decorator.  If you were to walk into my room you would find a few pictures and some knick knacks but nothing that officially states, “yes I am a decoration.”  My house is very much in this regard with Christmas decorations.  We did talk about putting up the tree last Saturday, but we were all tired from cleaning the house, so it didn’t happen.

I think part of this lack of decoration comes from all the years of not being in our house for Christmas.  When we would go down to my grandma’s house, just a few days before Christmas, we would help her decorate her tree.  In our house we had nothing.  We weren’t there so why put up a tree.  I think I was about 11 when my sister convinced my parents to get a real tree.  Oh that smelled amazing.  We did start using a tree in the house when we moved to Virginia, but again it never really went up until a few days before Christmas.

So all I have pictures of is the anticipatory spots and the boxes holding the goods.


The corner where the tree will stand


The bag that holds the tree


The box of decorations


Maybe this weekend we will have an appearance of Christmas cheer.