YES, THAT’S WHAT A MEMORY IS

One day last week, Levi and I made ornaments together.   I have a big trunk filled with plastic Christmas balls just ready to be filled with whatever strikes his fancy!  Feathers, little reindeer, tiny beads, pictures we drew…anything and everything.  We have lots of things to string and hang and lot to make garland from.  We save it all…year after year…and we have quite a collection now.

After we got a little weary of that, we opened up the other boxes that belong to him, and pulled out all his favorite ornaments.  We started collecting little red trucks carrying trees when he was just a baby.  Now we get any color truck and have branched out to other vehicles….motorcycles, cars, campers, firetrucks…anything that goes!  I think we have about 40 now!

As we worked together, side by side, on his tree, he was talking up a storm.  These words really touched my heart…

“Lulu, I remember doing this. We have done this before. We always put my tree right here and it always makes me happy. Is that called a MEMORY?”

I answered…“Yes, sweet boy, it is a precious memory. Those are the kind that stick in your brain very well because you really enjoy doing something. It is a sweet memory for me, too.” 

He spoke again and said...” I think it is because I like when we do things together.  It makes me happy when  you and me can make things.   I love all my tree things and the ornaments I made, and today you taught me how to tie a slip knot!  It was hard, but now I can do it!  This is a good day!”

 

I thought…”Oh, my little man…you have no idea how I treasure every day we can spend together…you’re 7 now and things will continue to change for you. Other things will become more important as time goes by and spending these kind of days together will get less and less. It’s the way of the world.  I hope we can still have special days together.  But these precious memories are locked away in my heart of hearts forever!”

That’s all.  Just sharing a sweet moment between grandmother and grandson.  Making memories.  Hope you make a lot of sweet memories this Christmas, too!

 

 

 

THE TURKEY DECISION

Well, Thanksgiving celebrations are winding down and folks are going home…stuffed.  Our dinner was wonderful, we all contributed and there was an abundance of everyone’s favorites.

I, roused out of bed at 5:oo am to put the turkey in the oven.  To be clear…this is the new Butterball Roast in Bag.  It was easy as could be.  Open the outer bag, place turkey in roasting pan, cut 4 slits in bag, slide into the oven for 4 hours at 375 degrees.  Just the same as my Jennie-O.

I went back to bed and soon the aroma woke me and I went to check on it and all looked well.  It was browning nicely.  Lots of juices in bottom of bag.  I waited the allotted time and removed from oven.  Let it sit in bag for 20 minutes.  Then I was ready to open it up.

Here’s where the trouble started.  The bag was stuck to the turkey.  As I pulled it away, all that glorious browned skin came off with it.  This has NEVER happened with Jennie-O.  My plans were to take the turkey in its all together state and carve it when we got ready to eat.  No.  That was not what happened.  I finally got the bag off and tried to lift the turkey onto the platter.  It fell to pieces.  The bones slide out and the turkey…she had no shape at all!  This has also NEVER happened with the Jennie-O.  I ended up having to use a large knife and tongs to get all the meat out of the pan.  It was not the vision of loveliness I expected to share with the family.  Instead, it was sliced as best as I could do.

Now the taste…it was good.  BUT.  Not as good as the Jennie-O.  There was not the same seasoned flavor that we all loved.  But, it was just fine, as far as turkeys go.  Everyone said it was good and they certainly ate it up and took leftovers home with them.

To sum up…the Butterball Roast in Bag was tasty, but the appearance was disappointing.  The Jennie-O Cook in Bag is both extra tasty and pretty to look at when done.  So, I will continue to search diligently for Jennie-O and hope to be reunited with her before next year…but if not, the Butterball is a fairly good second choice.

Hope your day was as special as ours was.  We laughed and talked and heard wild stories.  We prayed together and feasted together and then went over and decorated Pop’s house for Christmas.  A wonderful day filled with sweet memories.  God is so good!

 

THE TURKEY SAGA CONTINUES…

Oh! Me!  Oh! My!  Here it is, almost Thanksgiving, and I am all in a dither…or a tizzy…or bum fuddled!

If you keep up with me, you know my turkey experiences.  I have raved and raved to you about the fantastic, marvelous Jennie-O turkey that is oven ready and cooks in its own bag.  Easy as can be and that’s how I like it.  And not only easy…but delicious, too!

I have looked everywhere for my tried and true…best ever turkey, and I can not find it anywhere.  I even have a friend who has been keeping an eye out for me, too.  (Thanks, Em!)  But no luck.  I have even gone to their website to see if I could find out where they are available in our area…and they are NOT!  I even checked to see if I could have one shipped to me…they don’t do that.  (You know dry ice and all. ) Actually I was looking for two…Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am on turkey duty!

Well if that didn’t put a damper on my spirits.  Cause doing it the ‘old fashioned’ way is quite a chore for me.  But, that’s just me and my lack of culinary skills.

So, I find myself at Wal Mart last week and I asked about them.  The girl I asked said, “Yes, we have them, but they are in the back.  I’ll go get you one!”  “Make it two,” I said.  And she disappeared.  Friends, I might have done a little happy dance…I’m sure I was grinning!  The turkey fairy had smiled on me and I was going to get raves from the family on Thanksgiving Day…because you. can. not. mess that turkey up!  So, I waited and I waited and was beginning to think she had gotten stuck in the turkey freezer!

Out comes a man and asks me if I was looking for the turkeys in the bag.  I told him I was and he went over to one of the cases and pulled out a turkey.  It was NOT a Jennie-O.  It was a Butterball!    And, it was only a turkey breast.  I told him that I needed the whole turkey…and I was looking for MY brand.  He begins digging down into the bottom of that bin and he pulls out a turkey.  A Butterball!  In a Ready to cook bag.. just like the Jennie-O!  I took it and it looked very similar…so I asked him to dig one more time and get me another one.  And, he did.  The directions for this turkey are almost exactly like the other one.  No thawing…no washing…no slipping out of your hands and landing on the floor.  Just put in pan, and bake!

So, just to update you.  Can not find any of Ready to Cook in bag turkey by Jennie-O…but, found a similar looking Butterball.  I will try it on Thursday and report back to you.  Butterball usually has great turkeys…so we’ll see.  I have had four people contact me this year asking where to get one.   Sorry, folks.  but, for those in a bigger city, you may have better luck.  *****EDITED TO ADD*****A friend contacted me about a recall on some of Jennie-O products.  The list did not include whole turkeys.  So maybe that is why they are scarce.

When I am doing cooking things, I like to stay with the things I KNOW work well with my skill level.  But, I’m a brave girl and I can venture into new territory if I have to.  So wish me luck, and I’ll poll the family on Thanksgiving Day and let you know the verdict.

Hope your turkey (whatever the brand) is tasty and that your day is filled with such happiness that the memories will stay with you far into the future!  Happy Thanksgiving!

PACKING A SHOEBOX

At breakfast this morning, Levi told me he was really sad. When I asked why, he said that he did not get to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. His Mom took care of it for the family in the interest of time., and filled several boxes.  But, Levi wanted to do one himself. “I know what to do. You buy things the little boys would like and then you pack them nice and neat in the box and you fill out the paper and the church sends it on an airplane and the children all get new things! I do it every year.”
So, I told him that I would help him do one and we would get it to his church before time to send it off. He immediately went and got pen and paper to make his list. Handing it to me, he said, “Go to WM or Target and get these things. Be sure to get the right size. I can’t go with you, but I think you can do it!    Yes, Little Man, I think I can. Thank you for having a loving, sharing heart.
You, know, the way our little ones learn to be people who care about others and do for others is to be taught.  They may see us doing things for others and slowly understand what we are doing.  My own boys went with me to deliver Meals on Wheels for several years when they were small.  They enjoyed it and learned about the elderly and unfortunate in our community.  I also took my boys to the nursing home to visit quite often.  They learned to not be afraid of someone who is aged, but just to give them an chance to talk to someone..  They learned that whatever name they were called by to just act like that was right.
Find ways for your child to give back to others…share with them the needs in our community…and teach them that we are mandated by God to help the poor and needy.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Operation Christmas Child is a non denominational effort to bring Christmas joy to children all over they world.  The boxes we pack go out to those in over 100 countries.
  Samaritan’s Purse also provides Crisis Response, Food and Water, medicines, and shelter.
The staff at Operation Christmas Child advise that these are the items most needed in the boxes…SCHOOL SUPPLIES… pencils, papers, crayons, coloring books, tape,   TOYS…( if it require batteries, send extra taped to toy)…MAKE YOUR OWN CRAFT KITS…       PERSONAL HYGIENE ITEMS items…toothbrush, soap, washcloth..no toothpaste or any liquid…       .CLOTHING ACCESSORIES..socks, underwear, shoe strings, flip flops, hair bows, elastics.  ALL NEW ITEMS…NO USED!
NO CANDY.  The least chosen group of children is boy…9-14, fyi.
I hope you get the chance to participate in this global project.  Be a part of sharing Christmas around the world. This is collect week, so hurry if you would like to participate.  I think almost all the Baptist Churches in town  take part, I don’t know about other denominations, but feel certain they do.  You are welcome to drop your box by any church office.  My church is Southside Baptist on Cottonwood Rd….signs lead to the office.  You are also asked to make a $9.00 donation to cover shipping.
For more info…www.samaritan’s purse.com………..Pinterest has many great ideas to share.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Mama,

Today is your birthday.  It is a Sunday morning.  You would have been 86 on earth today,  and knowing you, you would be just as neatly dressed and coiffed as ever!  I sincerely doubt you would have on long pants unless it was bitter cold…which it certainly is not right now!  But your out fit would be a complete ensemble of panty hose, shoes, purse, and jewelry that matched.  (I think some of that stuck with me…but I’m really OK with the pants thing now…just never shorts or jeans.  I think you would approve!  Very few men wear a suit and tie anymore.  Church is way more casual.  But, Don and Tommy and Pop and a few others who are our age or older still do.  Joy wears pants, too!) 

You would sit in your special place next to daddy.  You would not be very at ease in the song service,  There would be mostly songs you didn’t know.  And all that clapping would not set well with you, for sure.  However, You would sit next to Pop and smile and just hold your clasped hands gently in your lap.  We usually sing 1 hymn. You wouldn’t need a book…you always knew all the words to every hymn we sang!   And you wouldn’t even look at the screens… (you did not like those either.  You said it made our church look like an auditorium instead of a sanctuary.)  I guess its a sign of the times…every church you attend has those screens now…no one uses hymnbooks anymore.  Of course, hymns are very rarely sung, either.  There would be many familiar faces missing in church this morning and that would make you very sad.  But, there would be a lot you still recognize and you would hug and love on them!  You would also see a lot of new faces…and this would make you very happy.  It always bothered you that we did not reach more of the community that surrounded us.

  Don and I would be sitting behind you and Joy at the piano…Tommy sitting with her.  None of your grandchildren go to Southside now.  But, they are all serving in churches around the city.  They would make you proud.  Even your great grandsons who you never met on earth, are very involved in church.  They have made a profession of their faith at their own churches and have both been baptized.  Their parents are bringing them up just like you and Pop did…and like Joy and I did.

You loved to hear Joy and Pam play a beautiful offertory.  You listened to every note.  You would know if there was a single mistake.  And, your beautiful white hair would be bobbing in time with the music until they finished.  Everyone else would clap when they finished…but you wouldn’t.  The words to the music they were playing were holy and reverent and you held your hands and smiled and thanked God in your heart.

The beautiful flowers in the church today are in honor of your memory. You have so many friends who still love and think about you.  The work you did in missions and on missions trips is still talked about.  The little 3’s who passed thru your group ’s class were indeed blessed.  You reached out to those who were shut in and sick and lonely.  You must have baked thousands of your famous pound cakes and took them warm to those who were on your heart.  You wrote note upon note upon note!  The recipient never knew if it would be silly or serious!

You made people smile, Mom, everywhere you went.  You were a lady.  You are a gem of a mother.  I hope you get a party in heaven today.  Perhaps, angel food cake!  Or maybe all the celebration you need is to remember your family and your church and your friends.  We all love you still and always will.  I, for one, feel your spirit close to me all the time.

I’m sure today you are worshipping in a temple so grand we would not believe it!  And, I know…I just know…that you are in the choir with the angels!  And, you see Jesus!  Oh, Mom!  I am so happy to know you see Jesus face to face!

I love you forever!

Hey, save me a seat in the choir next to you!   It’s OK…God’s gonna give me a new voice!

TROUBLE AT THE MALL

I recently visited one of the anchor stores in our local mall.  My hubby said it would be impolite to name the store, so I won’t.

From the time I walked in to the time I left, it was frustration upon frustration.  First there was NO sales help.  I take that back.  In a store the size of this one, I saw 2 sales people.  I had a pair of shoes to return.  I went first to the shoe section…no one there.  Then to the make up…on to women’s…then to girls…then to jewelry…back to shoes.  No one was working!  Finally I saw a line of about 8 people snaking out of the handbag section.  One young lady was kindly ringing people up as fast as she could.  Of course, several of the folks had questions and so she had to leave to show them something.  But those of us in line stayed in line because where else would we go? After a good 30 minutes in line, I finally returned my shoes.

As I walked through the store, I spotted a pair of jeans that I wanted to try on.  I really debated about doing this, but they were just what I was looking for.  So, I take the jeans, and go to the nearest dressing room.  OH! MY!  I can not tell you what each of the 3 stalls looked like…so let me show you.  Is this atrocious or what?  Who would leave a dressing room like this?  What kind of person leaves new clothes not even purchased on the floor?

**********Now this harkens back to my last post about the buggy.  Friends…it is just rude to leave all those clothes in that condition.  You don’t even own those clothes.  They should be returned to their proper place.  Now the dressing rooms in this store happen to have a rack by the door for you to hang your clothes that did not fit.  But if not…at least return them..folded or hung…to the cashier’s area.  Here they may put them back in the correct place.  Just as with the buggy, there is a place to put the clothes after you try them on.**********

And, the dressing rooms were nasty.  Dirty carpet…trash on the floor…slats knocked out of the doors.  It was awful.  I chose the least messy of the 3 and was very careful as I tried on my jeans.  Didn’t want to touch anything.  Nope..don’t like the jeans.  OK…I had enough of this place and I am ready to go.

But, NO!  I am not going anywhere!  The door is stuck!  Not where the latch I can reach to lock it…but up at the top.  There is a screw halfway out of the wall, and when the door shut, a metal piece got stuck behind that and was not willing to budge to let me out.  I am 5’1”…I could not even reach the top of the door.

I pushed it as hard as I could.  I jiggled the door.  I pushed it again.  Then I thought about crawling under the door.  No way…the opening at the bottom was only about 8 inches wide.  Wasn’t gonna happen.  So, I called out, “Is there anyone who can hear me?”  No answer.  I called again.  “Is there anyone who can hear me…I am in need of help in the dressing room.”  No answer.  Well, of course there was no answer…no one was working!

So, ‘I had a little talk with Jesus.  And, I told Him all about my  troubles
He will hear my faintest cry and He will answer by and by…’

Do Ya’ll remember that song?  Well, those words came flooding into my heart as I was standing in that nasty dressing room…locked into one of the smaller stalls…and getting unhappier by the moment!  When I was a kid, I remember thinking it would be so fun to get locked inside a department store at night and just roam the store and and try on anything you wanted!  That was then.  Now I am sure they have motion detectors and and the whole DPD would bust through the doors and have me in jail before I could explain!

But, back to the song.  I told Jesus, “I need His strength.”  He says,   And, I was surely in a very weak situation.  So, I took Him at His word.  I asked Him to give me the strength to get out of that door…and get on my way.  I stood back and braced myself with my hand on one wall.  And took my foot and one hand and hit that door as hard as me and Jesus could manage.  Friends, that piece of metal popped right in half!  The door swung open and hit me in the head!  But, I was free!  I gathered up my jeans and hung them back in the right place and I headed for the door.  I have never been so glad to smell fresh air in my life!

Did I tell anyone that I broke their door?  No.  I didn’t see anyone to tell.  Remember?  No one was working   And, obviously, no one heard my body slam through the dressing room door ..cause no one came to investigate, either!

But, last night, I did write a complaint to the Dothan store and told them about my horrendous experience in their store.  I received a generic note this morning saying “Thank you for your comment on our store.  Please let us know how we can make your shopping experience more enjoyable.”  Really?  Really?

 

I better just stop right here before I say something that’s not nice.  Anyway, the lesson here is this.  God knows where you are all the time.  He knows what you are doing.  He see you when you get in trouble…and He promises to help you out!  Take him at His word!  You might not be stuck in a filthy dressing room and need His help to escape.  But, tapping into His strength is for any situation you find yourself in.  And,He delights in sharing it with you!  He wants every day to be a day of joy and happiness and He’s there to make that happen…if we just ask!