Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Memories

Highlights of the year 2008 (which is coming to a swift end):

January-Spending the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 in Atlanta with family--going to the American Girl Doll Store with two of our granddaughters and the Auburn-Clemson football game with my husband and sons (and Auburn winning---War Eagle!)

February-A family weekend in Auburn for a basketball game (and our older son's birthday) and watching it SNOW in Auburn.

March-The celebration of five family birthdays---our daughter-in-law, our oldest granddaughter, our younger son, our nephew, and our youngest granddaughter! March is a month FULL of birthdays in our family.

April-A reunion in the north Georgia mountains with seven of my college girl friends---It's fun to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together.

May-The celebration of our grandson's birthday, our nephew's state tennis tournament AND high school graduation, our niece's state track meet, and my husband's RETIREMENT!

June-Annual Cousins' Camp---fun day trips to Big Kahuna in Destin and Waterville USA in Gulf Shores, AL and homecoming at the little church where I grew up

July-Annual family beach week with our children, grandchildren, and my brother and his family complete with an up-close view of the Blue Angel's performance from the deck of our beach house as well as the dolphins "performing" in the gulf right behind our house, an invitation from our youngest granddaughter to go to the Zoo-Snooze at the Atlanta Zoo with all 4 grandchildren and their church group, and then a trip to Oklahoma with our oldest granddaughter

August-The celebration of another daughter-in-law's birthday and the excitement of another school year for our grandchildren and the beginning of college for our nephew as well as Auburn football even though the season was very disappointing

September-A FUN trip to Montana and Canada with dear friends---What a gorgeous part of the country and a wonderful place to see God's beautiful creation! One of the highlights of the trip was actually getting to walk on a glacier but that is just ONE of the many fantastic things we saw and experienced.

October-My birthday which I wanted to be low-key but which I was very thankful to celebrate

November-Thanksgiving and having our younger son and his family home for a few days

December-The wonder and awe of this season never gets old. This year we were able to celebrate with our children, grandchildren, and my brother and his family. It was a fun-filled few days as we watched the children enjoy each other and as we all had fun as a family (many Wii games brought lots of laughter) and had a chance to reflect on the Christmas story with the annual "production" put on by the grandchildren. This year it was entitled A Baby Changes Everything and they each had scripture to read and a part to say explaining the importance of CHRISTmas. They also each received an envelope with money that they must use for SOMEONE else.

As it approaches midnight here, I am thankful for a year of good health, time spent with friends and family, a wonderful church family, and the blessing of hope and peace we have in Jesus. My prayer for all of you is that 2009 will be filled with God's blessings.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Plastic Santa Claus

This time of year, I see many Christmas decorations in all the stores. However, none have quite the meaning to me as the plastic Santa that I see for sale in almost all the department stores. Everytime I see a light-up, plastic Santa Claus, I am immediately taken back to my childhood. We didn't have much money in our family but we had lots of love. We splurged one year and ordered a light-up plastic Santa Claus from the Sears mail order catalog. Every year after that at Christmastime, Santa would sit shining brightly on the front porch of our little frame house. Even after I was in college, I got the same feeling when I drove up in front of our house on a cold winter night and saw that plastic Santa Claus. To me, it symobized much more than a plastic Christmas decoration. It symbolized a warm, welcoming home filled with love. I understand Santa is not the reason for the season, but that Santa was a reminder to me and the reason for my heart to be overflowing with love and security--thankful for the Christian family God had given me. My brother now has the Santa and that Santa still shines brightly after all these years. Even though our parents and grandparents are now with the Lord, I re-live all of those Christmases long ago and still feel the warmth and love I felt then when I see a plastic Santa Claus.