Tag Archives: Christmas

Mondays are for Memories – A Teen Challenge Christmas Story

Since we are heading back to Teen Challenge next month I was looking through some of my posts from back during the time we served there in 2007 and 2008. I found this one that reminded me about what special times those were! Here’s…..
A Teen Challenge Christmas Story – (original post date 01/06/08)

Homemade Cookies. Fudge. Bags and bags of candy. Hot chocolate mix. More Candy. More Cookies. Lots and lots of goodies arrive at Teen Challenge over the Christmas holidays, sent by parents and grandparent of the students. But let me tell you about one box that arrived for one of the 1st platoon boys with Happy New Year wishes for the staff and students.
It came from NYC – overnight UPS. Inside the box were 2 large bags of cooked rice, 2 large bags of red beans and rice, 4 containers of what looked like baked beans but with some added goodies, a pork roast and a bag of gravy. (Oh, and a couple bags of mini-chocolate bars!). The food arrived still a little frozen, so we put it right in the fridge and figured out what day we could serve it. Gary & I were “on” for New Year’s Day, so it seemed the perfect chance to serve this food that had traveled so far and had come with such love. But since we weren’t exactly sure how it all “fit together” we called the son in to act as our guest chef. As would be the case with most 14 year olds, he really had no idea how it “fit together”, but he offered what advice he could and was pleased to be part of the process. Since I had to add some rice to the dishes, I asked him to give it a taste, since I really had no idea what it was supposed to taste like (not being an expert in red beans and rice!). Little did I know it is against regulations for the cadets to taste any food before it has been served, so he refused (very politely, of course!). After much persuasion and assurances that he would not be written up, he finally took a spoonful of the rice. One taste and with his eyes closed, a smile spread across his face.

“It tastes like home.”

So thanks, Mom and Dad, for sending that little bit of home. And for letting us share it with 40 other young men who were longing for “home”.
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All the “boys” are back from their Christmas break, we’ve said good-bye to our Sower friends who were here in December, and ten new Sower couples have arrived for January. Should be an exciting month – especially if Gary gets to start some of the A/C –Heating work.

And if tomorrow’s Monday – it must be spaghetti and meat sauce day!

Merry Christmas!

I know, I know – we haven’t even made it to October yet so what on earth is this Merry Christmas stuff! Well, in our world it always pays to plan ahead (as much as you can in this crazy year of 2020!). Since we’d decided to change up Christmas this year and stay south, I wanted to try and ‘deliver Christmas’ to the kiddos when we visited each family in September.  And as timing would have it – this was the Christmas Stocking Year.
Toby’s family already a good supply of GramMade Christmas stockings –
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But the addition of Everly in June necessitated a new one. For once I was thankful I had kept the leftovers from that project years ago, and was able to complete the set!
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It’s up to Toby to make a bigger hanging board!

Down in Waco, I’d also been staying on top of the Stocking situation. Josiah and Abigail had been gifted Christmas stockings as wedding gifts, so as each little boy was added, I was able to follow the style, even if the fabric choices were a bit different.
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The green one was one of the original wedding gifts, the two red ones belong to Weston and Taran. (Although I can’t find a picture of Anderson’s I’m pretty sure it does exist!) This year I made one for Deacon (who unbelievably turns ONE next month) and also one for Georgeanne ( Abigail’s mom – aka MeeMah – who lives with them!)
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To help tell them apart, I put a fancy ‘grown-up’ lining in MeeMahs!
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I think (so they tell me) that completes the sets for that gang!

Meanwhile, in Gahanna, there were NO GramMade stockings at all!
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Since I was starting from scratch with that household, it was fun make to each one a little different while keeping the basic style the same!
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(They really are all the same size – it’s just a weird perspective!)

To complete my Christmas sewing, I even made a little Christmas Tree for us –
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Now I just need to get it quilted and bound before December!

This year we also went with the Family Christmas Gift concept- and did our best to have them arrive while we were visiting.
Trampolines!!
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The one in M-ville arrived after we left, but it looks like it will be put to good use.
We were able to work together to construct the one in Waco
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and it’s been a great hit down there too!
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In fact, according to a text I received yesterday, this is happening….
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“All day, every day!”

I’m feeling all kinds of Christmas love!

Mondays are for Memories – National Lazy Day

Did you know that today was National Lazy Day?  I’m not sure how that actually translates in our world, but I looked back at a day that had Gary in a chair more than he was on a ladder, so that seemed pretty close to a Lazy Day to me! Here ya go –

Dec 26, 2013 – Making the most of it

Since we wouldn’t be spending Christmas day with our kids and grands (although there are only 5 more sleeps till we’ll be there, hugging their necks!) we decided to plan something special for the day. We packed up our favorite picnic goodies, loaded up the folding chairs and headed to the beach! Fortunately, there IS one only about a hour and a half away!
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South Padre Island – here we come!
The weather was a bit on the cool side (though compared to Minnesota, I guess it would seem quite tropical at 65!) and the sky was more overcast than sunny, but still we had a lovely day!
Did you know that all public beaches in Texas are also considered public roads? Yes, for a small fee ($5.00), you can drive right down the beach. Crazy, isn’t it!?
Yes friends and family, we're driving on the beach on Christmas  day! Merry Christmas, everyone!
While we were looking for the perfect picnic spot, we did spot some hardy folks taking their Christmas swim –
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but I confess there was never even a moment that I wanted to join them. They were very young. Or very crazy!
We passed lots of fishermen, including these guys who definitely weren’t in the very young department,
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so they must have been in the very crazy group. Brrrrr…. (and put a shirt on for goodness sake!!)
It was really neat to just drive down the beach
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and we finally came to the spot that Gary deemed the perfect truck-bed picnic spot.
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It was early for lunch, so Gary got all settled in with a book and I set off with my camera to try and capture the day. First I headed back toward the dunes –
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Sand is so incredibly fluid, isn’t it? Does that make any sense?
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After a bit of dune exploring, it was back to the waves for me!
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(Just as a side note – this is a such beautiful area it was distressing to see so much trash peeking up through the sand or mixed in with the shells. Grrrrrrr.)
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And another young/crazy person in the water. Christmas tradition, maybe?
Although I love the big picture shots
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I also love getting up close and personal with some of the interesting things along the shore –
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There were lots of the beautifully colored Portuguese Man O Wars washed up (another reason why staying out of the water (in my mind) was a good idea!)and the little shells stuck to the branch had something moving inside of them. Every now and again an “arm” would stick out!
As I was headed back to the truck
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the trusty phone rang and we got to do some Face Time with T&T and the Ohio grands.
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Ah sweet technology!
After that came lunch! And with lunch came the neighborhood seagulls!
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Whatcha got? Huh, huh, anything for us??????
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Such fun company!
As the clouds thickened,
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it seemed time to get things packed up and head back to the paved road.
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I did have to make it very clear that regardless of who CAN park on this beach, we were NOT going to bring Lizzie with us next time. No sirree, that isn’t going to happen on my watch!
We decided to drive to the end of the road (going north), but we were glad there wasn’t too much traffic –
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since there wasn’t too much road available!

It was a really fun day! Just enough 4-wheel-driving to make it interesting, but not too much risk of needing a tow! Lots of fun with the camera (and practice with my new 50mm lens I got for Christmas :)) and perfect timing with the weather –
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Add in calls from all the kids and then home in time for a quick nap before we indulged in leftover picnic goodies for dinner (i.e. I didn’t have to cook!) and it can be firmly stated that it was a fine day. Not a traditional Christmas in any sense of the word, but one that we are very thankful for nonetheless! Hoping that yours was filled with joy also!

(I won’t even confess to the number of pictures that were taken today, but along with the ones in this post there are just a couple (;)) more HERE! I really pared it down, honest!)

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Happy New Decade (if you’re so inclined!) and Happy to be Home!

We had a perfectly marvelous (though somewhat exhausting) Christmas in Ohio.  We have two families living in the Columbus, OH area and that includes 7 of 11 grandchildren. Phew! So many hugs and kisses! There were games to be played –
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Cookies to be made –
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Christmas pajamas to enjoyed-
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Oh, and did I mention a couple of presents to be opened and enjoyed?
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and perhaps the biggest Christmas surprise –
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Introducing Oliver, the newest Conrad Granddog, who has joined the clan up in Marysville! Such excitement!

We only have one picture of the whole gang of us (taken at the Globetrotters Game)
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And only one of all the grands together(minus Oliver!) clustered on the sofa during our joint gift exchange-
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It was a wonderful 10 days filled with sweet memories that we will hold close in our hearts in the days to come. In the meanwhile, though, today was spent unpacking from our Christmas trip and wrapping up loose ends here at Camp Westminster to prepare for our departure tomorrow morning for points SOUTH! We’re heading to our January SOWER project at Sherry White Ministries in Wauchula, FL.

With two cameras and any number of cell phones snapping pictures during our Christmas holiday, you can be sure there are a couple more pictures that what I’ve shared here! If you’d like to see a selection of them (honest, I didn’t upload ALL of them!) you can check them out here! Happy Christmas viewing!

Happy New Year, friends!
Steph

The Wrap-up

My goodness – there are so many things to wrap up around here!

There’s the December SOWER project wrap- up:
Once again, those three week just galloped by! The guys finished up painting ALL the bathrooms in Swann Lodge, and Gary finished up tiling and grouting those three showers.
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Meanwhile, back at the inventory counting, we ladies came up with a plan for being able to identify different sizes in the myriad of tee shirts and tanks that we were counting. Since we were rolling all the stock, and securing them with rubber bands, we suggested that they use different color rubber bands for the different sizes. Genius, right? Well, maybe not genius, but at least it solved the problem. Our only complication was that they could only find bags of ‘assorted colors’ so our first job was to un-assort them!
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We were fully qualified to do the task, and eventually we had all the stock neatly rolled and banded by color. Hopefully the rubber band concept will be a help in the days to come!
As we wrap up the SOWER project we marvel once again on the blessing of new friends and seeing how God is working through this camp!
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Wrapping up Atlanta
OK, there really is no wrapping up Atlanta. There is so much to see and do in this area, but we found one big drawback to this area – the TRAFFIC. Oy! So many cars!! We really did a very bad job of seeing the sights of Atlanta, and the closest we came to exploring the history of the area was a Sunday afternoon drive through nearby Covington, to check out some of the Antebellum homes in that town.
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The best Atlanta area thing we did was connect with my cousin Hannah and her daughter and a couple of her grandboys. They live on the other side(ish) of Atlanta, so we met in the middle at a nice park and had a delightful afternoon of reconnecting and catching-up.
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Love being able to see family along our travels!
Wrapping up Christmas
Literally – wrapping up the presents!
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Bet you’ve been doing some of that too! We only had one box to ship this year, and we got that out of the way last week.
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Yea for Gary who did the honors in the rain!
The rest of the packages just get loaded in the truck since we’re heading north on Thursday to love on our Ohio kiddos and grands! It’ll be a long drive, but oh-so-worth-it!!

So that about wraps up this post!   Thanks for stopping by, and just in case I don’t get back this way ( ’cause you know – Grandkids!) for a bit –
May your days be filled with joy and gladness as we celebrate the miracle of the birth of our LORD!
Merry Christmas!
Steph