Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Adventure

One of our holiday traditions is to have a little “adventure” to the Texas hill country between Christmas and New Years. One of our favorite places to visit is Fredericksburg, especially at Christmas. It is really relaxing after the hustle and bustle of the weeks leading up to Christmas day. We love the small-town holiday feel, the after-Christmas sales, the great places to eat, the candle factory, and did I mention sales? This year did not disappoint. We spent all of our Christmas money on new treasures for next year’s decking of the halls. Now the question is where to store all of this??

This year we tried a new restaurant, the Hilltop Cafe. It’s located about 12 miles outside of Fredericksburg on the highway to Mason. When you look at the outside of the cafe a 5 star rating isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind. I thought that I would have probably passed this on by and kept driving if it had not been so highly recommended.


Here were two of our fellow diners.


The dining area where we sat. (We ate early because we didn’t have a reservation. Before we left at around 6:00 the room was more than half full.)


The area where the piano player and singer sat. We’re talking honky tonk and blues here.




Herb garden by the front door


Just looking at the place you would think hamburger joint. Dan had a bowl of gumbo that was to die for, a flat-iron steak topped with cheese and spinach, fresh okra and tomatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, fresh asparagus and squash. I had cajun fried shrimp with the same vegetables. Our meals were delicious. Other items on the menu were mahi mahi, crab cakes, stuffed pork chops, oyster appetizers, etc. We thought our meals were very good. In fact, one of our usual places to eat on our little Christmas adventure is Boudreau’s in San Antonio. D. thought this was much better. So…if you’re ever on Hwy. 87 about 12 miles outside of Fredericksburg, look for the filling station!

Something else we did for the first time is go to the Museum of the Pacific War which looks as if it has just been expanded. I am embarrassed to say that I have never been before. I took a few pictures of the outside of the building and the gardens.






It is very impressive and well worth visiting. On the wall around the garden you can see where there are individual memorials to men and women that have served in the Pacific. The above monuments are two of those to the presidents who have served.

All in all, a lovely two days!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Postscript

I was just catching up on the blogs that I read and found this quote by Stuart Briscoe on from this side of the pond:

"The spirit of Christmas needs to be superceded by the Spirit of Christ. The spirit of Christmas is annual; the Spirit of Christ is eternal. The spirit of Christmas is sentimental; the Spirit of Christ is supernatural. The spirit of Christmas is a human product; the Spirit of Christ is a divine Person. That makes all the difference in the world."

Christmas doesn't have to end if we know the Spirit of Christ.


IMG_1108 Purchased from Susie Harris’ Etsy store. I love it. I have it hanging on the landing in my stairway and you can see it from my living room.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful and blessed celebration of our Savior’s birth! Other than not having Erin and Lucas here with us, we had a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas day. We went to our church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service along with my sister and her family. There is absolutely nothing like several thousand people singing Joy to the World and O, Come All Ye Faithful together. I always shed a few tears when one of our youngest church members sings Happy Birthday Jesus. And, of course, you can never hear the story of God’s love for us demonstrated through the birth of Christ too many times. Awesome!

Afterwards, we went to my sister’s house where we had gumbo and sandwiches followed by our choice of a zillion home-baked cookies and candies baked by Jamie and Megan. Wow! We then enjoyed trading and stealing white elephant gifts. All of them were “as seen on TV.” I ended up with a Neckline Slimmer. It says “dramatic results in just 2 minutes a day.” We’ll see…so far all I’ve gotten is whiplash! Ha!

IMG_1106 On Christmas afternoon the family came to our house for dinner. This was the dining room table.



We had lots of yummy food. Our menu is pretty much the same year after year because it has become one of our traditions. It includes Honeybaked Ham, dressing, sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole, baked beans, baked squash, broccoli with Velveeta and Ritz crackers, shoe peg corn baked with cream cheese and diced chili peppers, and cranberry/apple frozen salad. All recipes are low cal! Ha! The meal is followed by a choice of pumpkin or buttermilk pie.

IMG_1100 IMG_1110

After lunch we opened presents. What a difference having a toddler makes to your Christmas celebration. Everything is different when seen through the eyes of a child…such a precious time!


Grandpa and Katie.


Grammy, Grandpa, and Katie


Our budding chef…


IMG_1123 IMG_1124

University of Texas cheerleader…(You should have seen her moves once she got the hang of twirling!)


IMG_1129 And cowgirl…(if she doesn’t have brain damage from all the bouncing up and down!)


We hope that your Christmas was filled with wonderful memories, as well! (And that you’ve got your baby to keep you warm during this cold winter!)


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ready or not…

I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite ready for Christmas. I’ve still got shopping to do, cookies to bake, a house to clean, presents to wrap, etc. My life has been full this month (as I’m sure everyone’s is) and I can’t seem to catch up. I’ll get there…I have to. Christmas Eve is tomorrow!

I read a post on Monday that really spoke to my heart this Christmas season. You can find the post here. It talks about how the Bible says that for the 400 years prior to the birth of Christ, God was silent. The Israelites were undergoing pain, persecution, and suffering due to their own rebelliousness as they were shifted from empire to empire. Certainly this had happened to the Israelites before. What was the difference this time? There was no word from God. Some call it the “darkest” period in Jewish history. The Old Testament ends, however, with a reminder from Malachi: Remember what God has done for you; Believe he is not through with you yet.

God’s people were beyond ready for a word from Him when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

The Word came as a baby born to a virgin, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger that Christmas Eve so many years ago. I need to stop in my Christmas readiness and remember the grace given to me through that Baby and believe that whatever the future holds, He holds the future and He is not through with me yet.

Emmanuel, God with us!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Graduation Weekend

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Last weekend we had the privilege of going to Denver to attend our son-in-law’s college graduation. We are very proud of his commitment to reaching and attaining this goal.

When Lucas graduated from high school he enlisted in the Marine Corps. After his four years were up he moved back to Texas and attended community college in Austin, but as soon as Erin graduated they married and moved to Denver so that she could attend law school. Lucas then began a full-time job as an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Dept. while attending college full-time. I’m sure that there were times that he thought he would never finish, but he persevered. Congratulations Lucas! We’re proud of you.

IMG_1087 Erin and Lucas

IMG_1090 Lucas and his brother, Lowell


Lucas, Dan, and me

The graduation was at the Convention Center in downtown Denver. I love the sculpture of the blue bear looking in the windows.




I think I may have caught him by surprise in this picture!

We had superb weather while there even though there was considerable snow from earlier in the week. It looked look a storybook Christmas (for those of us from the South). IMG_1078



We also got to see Erin and Lucas’ home all decorated for Christmas. We won’t be with them for the holidays, so this pre-Christmas get-together was nice.

IMG_1066 IMG_1067 IMG_1069

IMG_1070What a cute couple! I especially like his shirt. It says “I love my wife.” Maybe I can get Dan one of those for Christmas!

IMG_1072 This is also a cute couple, don’t you think?

Friday evening on the way to Erin & Lucas’ house, we saw a home light show that was just over the top…reminiscent of Christmas Vacation. This picture doesn’t do it justice. There were carolers on the roof singing. Santa was riding a roller coaster through the yard. It was just amazing! The home owner starts putting up decorations early in the fall. In the foreground you can see the ski gondola. This was about half of the yard. I had to take the picture out the car window as we were driving by. The neighbor’s yard sports a big sign with an arrow pointing next door. The sign says “Ditto.”


IMG_1083 We had a celebratory dinner with both families at Texas de Brazil on Saturday night. In case you have never been to this restaurant or a similar one, it is all about the meat! I’ve never seen so many knife-wielding waiters carrying different cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and sausage to each table. Before you could sample one serving, they were there offering you another. It was a fun experience.

What a special weekend and special memories!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Sisters, Sisters

There were never such devoted sisters

Never had to have a chaperone “No, sir”

I'm there to keep my eye on her

Caring, Sharing

Every little thing that we are wearing

When a certain gentleman arrived from Rome

She wore the dress and I stayed home

All kinds of weather

We stick together

The same in the rain or sun

Two diff'rent faces

But in tight places

We think and we act as one

Those who've seen us

Know that not a thing could come between us

Many men have tried to split us up but no one can

Lord help the mister Who comes between me and my sister

And Lord help the sister

Who comes between me and my man

From White Christmas by Irving Berlin

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday. I hope that she’ll forgive me for posting this a day late on dad’s birthday instead.

When I was three-years-old I got the very best Christmas present a little girl could ever get – a baby sister – and she has been a blessing to my life ever since.

Judy's birth

She is my prayer partner and a prayer warrior for my family.


She is my confidante, counselor, encourager, and cheerleader who I can count on to tell me what I need to hear, not necessarily what I want to hear. I know that I can call her at anytime and she will be there for me and I will be there for her. We have shed many tears as well as bouts of laughter together. Our kids laugh at us because they say that we can’t keep secrets from each other. They’re right! What affects one of us affects both of us.


She gives good advise measured by God’s word.

advisor She is my best friend and sidekick.


When times have been difficult for either or both of us, we know that we can find a refuge and support in our faith and sisterhood.

refuge Playing out by the smokehouse at grandmother’s and granddaddy’s farm.

Mom died when we were in our early thirties. We have spent the greatest part of our adult years without a mother. We’ve gotten good at mothering each other.


I don’t know how I would have gotten through some of the tough times in my life without Judy’s support; my joy in the happy times would not have been complete if I had been unable to share it with her. I’m glad I’ve not had to do life “solo.”

soloPlaying grandmother’s piano at the farm.

When I count my blessings, my sister is at the top of the list!