Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wonderful Christmas!

Oh, I do hope all of you had a blessed holiday season! I know I did. While I am happy to be done with the prep and worry, I am sad it is over for another year. I still have my home decorated and may for a while...there is just no rush to put it all away. I am the world's worst procrastinator!
This is a pic of my sister (in red), my daughter, and me. This was Christmas Eve and we were having a great time taking pictures, eating her wonderful food, and just being together.

This is a picture of my sister putting finishing touches on her festive table, heavy laden with sliced ham, croissants, hot wings, assorted vegetables, cheese cubes, cheese balls, crackers, salsa and chips, cocktail weiners, crudite' with dip, grape studded pineapple with fruit slices and cream cheese fruit dip, pineapple pie, Red Velvet cake, candies, cookies, cranberry cocktail punch, and MORE! It was so delish!

I am back home now and my daughter returned to her condo today. She is off until college resumes the 14th or so, but she has New Year's Eve plans, her 21st birthday, and work. I am going to miss her!
She gave me the neatest gifts! She is a hostess at an upper class Italian restaurant and got me a scrummy bottle of Conundrum wine, a box of Godiva chocolate Truffles, and two of the sweetest little "Mom" books filled with delightful sayings and page after page of vintage photos....I am such a lucky Mom!
My Sweetheart gave me a long-wanted Sony digital camcorder and I have had such fun with it! It makes my old HUGE one look like a dinosaur!
Other than the l-o-n-g drive home and back, it was a good Christmas. I may be car shopping before long though.......I was lucky to make the 800 mile drive home without a break-down.....I think my transmission is going and the little car I have is not worth sinking a lot of money into. It is worn out....I was using it the day after we got back and it just stopped dead in the street while it was running. Luckily, I was not far from home and coaxed it into limping home where it sits - pathetic, tired, and forlorn......rather like its mistress, me. *sniff* It has served me well.......
All in all, it was a sweet, lovely time, I ate well (TOO much!), received thoughtful, tasteful gifts, spoiled everyone with my own gifts, enjoyed my family, sat with my sister, her family, my uncle, my daughter, and friends at my home church that I miss so much, and was granted safe travels, as was my daughter. What more could I want?

~*~Baby Girl!~*~

Here's wishing all a Happy New Year filled with special blessings!
Make a happy today!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cobweb Head and Fruzzle Brained

One should never bake cookies at 2:00 a.m.
One should never read cookbooks and try new fudge recipes in the middle of the night.
One SHOULD go to bed, sleep, rest, and tackle the day bright and fresh.

If One does not do this, One risks making a pot of HOT WATER for themselves instead of a nice, steaming, aromatic pot of COFFEE that One so desperately needs this crisp, cold winter morning!

One forgot to add coffee grounds to the basket..............

Christmas is not where it should be in my house. My daughter is coming home tomorrow, we have only a couple of days here and must go shop while she is here, then we leave for a 13 hour trip home to Arkansas for family Christmas and then return here around the 27th. I have decorated, have bought food to prepare, but have not gotten the house as lovely and clean as I want.......partly because I won't be here and also due to dental appointments, car repairs, injured finger, work schedules, general laziness, a bit of melancholy nostalgia, etc. (Can I be totally, insanely honest and tell you I have YET to wrap a gift?! I may drop in the dollar store tomorrow and buy all the gift bags they have left and pop everything in a bag and tissue and call it done! Most have to be carried in a car trunk anyway and are going to smushed up by the time they are opened.)

Just as I was feeling frazzled and weary and under pressure to have SOMETHING home baked for my daughter's arrival in a few hours, my BF walks into the kitchen where I am toiling away at the ungodly hour of 2:00 a.m., takes a deep smell, tells me the house smells wonderful, and that I am adorable.

I was in my jammies, hair was sticking out of a crooked ponytail, and flour on the end of my nose..........the man must love me.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A few years ago, I wrote a story for Heartwarmers. It went around the world and back and I was deluged in over 3500 emails! (I still get a few every year and have already gotten one this Christmas from someone who found my story on the net somewhere.)
One of the emails was from Janet Matthews, an associate editor for Chicken Soup books. Long story short, an edited version of the following story was selected from over 2000 entries for publication in the "Chicken Soup for the Parents' Soul" 125. :-)
I was honored that a story dedicated to my Mother made the cut of 101 stories. It remains my greatest honor beyond being the mother of my daughter.

And yes, that is where the name of my blog came from...."From the Heart".

In honor and memory of my Mom, Mary,

Merry Christmas.......From the Heart.....*MY* heart.



When I was 14 years old (same age as my daughter is today), my Mom and
I didn't have money for a Christmas dinner, much less gifts.
I knew she was sad about it and I was determined we wouldn't let it
get us down. Homemade gifts are nice but I wasn't very imaginative and too
broke for supplies. I decided to give my Mom something I treasured myself
-- the one nice piece of jewelry I owned, a gold cross necklace.
I cleaned it, made sure there were no knots in the chain and wrapped
it in the prettiest paper I could find. I was so excited, I couldn't wait
for her to open it.
Single moms have it hard (as I know first hand now) and I really
wanted to see her smile. We always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve night
and that afternoon, I could wait no longer.
I asked if we could "have Christmas" early. I anticipated that
Christmas more than when I knew I was getting a lot of nice gifts. I
didn't expect to get anything that year. It was about giving.
I handed her the little box, hugged and kissed her and wished her a
Merry Christmas. I waited anxiously for her to open it but she just sat
there with the box in her hands and looked at it.
I remember the look on Mom's face was a mixture of sadness and
serenity. She knew her greatest gift to me was her love. After what seemed
a long time, she looked at me and said, "I have something for you too."
She reached into her pocket, pulled out another small box, placed it in my
hands, and told me although it was not much, it was filled with love.
I was quite curious and little scared. I knew money was tight and
hoped Mom hadn't spent money on something we couldn't afford.
There was a little velvet box inside and when I lifted the lid, there
was a tiny ring with a diamond chip in the center. In a note, she told me
the ring was 23 years old, she hoped it brought me good luck... and "I love
I got a huge lump in my throat and looked at her. She smiled and told
me it had been her wedding band from my dad. It was now mine. I slipped
it on my finger and hugged my Mom.
She opened my gift and when she saw the necklace, big tears filled her
eyes. She asked me to put it on her. She held the necklace and told me
she thought it was our best Christmas ever. I could only nod my head in
This Christmas, I give thanks for Mom and treasure every memory we shared.
You see, my Mom has advanced Alzheimer's disease and no longer knows
me. But I look at "our" ring and remember her gentle, wise spirit and give
thanks God blessed me with her.
But that's not the end of the story.
Our home was burglarized four years ago. One of the items stolen was
that little ring. I had left all my jewelry at home for safekeeping
because it was Memorial Day weekend and I was going to the lake. I was
totally heart broken when I found out the ring was gone. Of course, so
were her diamond rings, my wedding band, engagement ring, etc., but it was
THAT ring I grieved for the most.
I wrote a letter to our local paper and begged whoever stole it to
"PLEASE return it by mail anonymously."
A few weeks went by with no response and then one day a police
detective showed up at my door. He held out a kleenex and asked me to
identify the item inside.
It was my ring! I have never found out where or how he got it but it
remains on my finger to this day.
So as we all go through the holidays, let us remember it's what we
give from the heart that holds the most value.

-- Nancy

Copyrighted 1999 / Not to be republished without written permission from the author.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Almost Christmas!

Just wanted to share a few photos of my Christmas decorations. I wasn't going to do a lot since I won't be here but I had to......I am a pushover for the holidays!
Most of what I have out was collected over the summer at the flea markets, yard sales, Salvation Army, etc. I spent very, very little and I think it all came together pretty well.
I just didn't feel like dragging all the family mementos out this year. My Mom passed away this year, my daughter is only going to be here a couple of days before and after Christmas and the BF is going to be working. I will go to Arkansas with my daughter to see family so I just used what I had stored around here throughout the summer. I kinda' like it.......sort of glitzy and glammy and VERY holiday-ish!


*Formal Living Room:

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*Buffet in Living Room - Angels:

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*Front Porch:

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*Fancy Tree in Entry Foyer:

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*Front Porch:

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*Another Front Porch:

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*Front Door:

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*Stairway from Den Going Up:

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*View of Den from Upstairs:

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*Dining Area in Downstairs Den:

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*Patches and Koko Waiting on Stairs for Me:

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*Downstairs Den:

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*Fireplace and Mantle in Den:

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*Buffet in Upstairs Formal Living Room:

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*Formal Dining Room Upstairs:

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*Another of the Foyer Entry Tree:

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*First Measurable Snowfall!:

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I have a few other things tucked here and there but those are the major spots....a lot of fussy girly stuff but truly me and my tastes. Can you tell I love pink?! No way........LOL.

There will be many moans and groans when I have to put it all away but for now, I am really enjoying "playing house" and I am truly blessed!

Let's all remember The Reason for The Season!

Blessings to all...............

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

~*~Merry Christmas!~*~

Let us all remember and cherish...........

By Tammy Laws Lawson

A friend and I were standing in line at the grocery store the other day, and I was telling her how lazy my children were. I had come in from work that morning, and like most times, my house was wrecked.
"I believe children nowadays are just out for what they can get. I bend over backwards for them, and they can't even help keep our house clean. It wouldn't bother me so, but it's the woman who looks bad if the house is a mess."
"Do you know how blessed you are?" a woman behind us asked. "I would love to go home and find my house a mess. I wouldn't mind my carpet being ruined or the dishes left everywhere. I wouldn't mind the dirty clothes being piled high or the many socks to match. I wouldn't even mind anyone talking about my dirty home. Matter of fact, I would love it. I would dearly love to kick my way through the house just to get to my kids and be able to hug them, kiss them and tell them how much I love them. You see, my two children were killed in an auto accident and now it's just my husband and me. My house stays clean, my clothes stay put up, the dishes are done. There are no fingerprints on my walls, no mysterious spots on my carpets. There are no sounds of arguing, no slamming doors, no laughter, no 'I love you Mom.' So you see, you are very blessed. What I would give to be going through what you are right now. How I would love to be able to hold my kids, wipe away their tears, share their dreams. Just to watch them play. If I had my children, I wouldn't care how my house looked. I would be happy just to have them."
Now if you come into my house and see a big old mess, you can think bad thoughts if you want, but I feel greatly blessed.

Reprinted by permission of Tammy Laws Lawson (c) 1999 from Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery and Nancy Mitchell Autio.