Holidays 2011!

Oct 27, 2011 by

The year 2011 is fast becoming a memory and has flown past in a blur.  It’s now the end of October 2011, Halloween is in a few days and in Texas, it’s chilly outside.  (Yes, 57 degrees is chilly in Texas.) As I sit here and write, my chili recipe is in the crock pot and soon will be a simmering delight! Finally, good, positive and happy changes are taking place for the betterment of me as a person, and for the good of my daughters and many my friends.  Changes are ahead for living conditions and other business opportunities are coming along. But I also feel even more keenly aware for the heartache in others who mean a great deal to me.

New Friends and Old

I have made some truly wonderful friends so far this year, and reconnected with some from long, long ago.  It’s been nice to be in contact again with people who I have never really stopped caring about, but who I was “not allowed” to keep up with because of the insecurities of others.  And I’ve also been able to meet people who have a great outlook on life, no matter how bad things have gotten.  It’s just amazing to juxtapose the new with the old and see how vastly different “fun and determined” can be versus “angry and victimized.”

Sadly, I’ve seen the lives of some in my recent past life completely fall apart well beyond what I thought was possible. And I’ve seen those who have money  continue to live by the philosophy that maybe they can take it with them.

The Coming Holidays

I’m beginning to look forward to the coming of the holidays.  I’ve never been much for Halloween, but the spirit has been put into me for Monday’s holiday and then of course there’s Thanksgiving and Christmas!

I have met some incredibly creative people this year in places I never would have expected.  The “Pumpkin Pig with Tutu” created by one of them in the wee hours this morning is posted below.  Never in 45 years have I thought about spray painting a pumpkin pink and turning it into a pig.  This is just cool.

Decorted Pumpkin Pig with Tutu

Decorted Pumpkin Pig with Tutu

Daughter Chandler, almost 15 going on 30, last night was encouraging me to try harder to enjoy the season than the one we endured last year.  Things were so tight, we even made each other gift jars with kind words in them to give as our gifts.  Chandler said last night, “And we lived even though that was all we got.” Like for most other middle class Americans, things this year are going to be tight again, but we have been inspired by a new sense in the importance of family and the expression for love and appreciation.

In this family, Christmas always has been a great big deal.  Sadly I learned recently  the wooden Santa Sleigh I made for the front yard has been hauled off along with “Santa’s Workshop.”  Those two creations made a difference for countless children and adults. Hopefully in time, I’ll have the chance to make new ones better than the first.

Most of all this holiday season I’m looking forward to finding new traditions with my family and new friends and trying to let the pains and frustrations of things in the past float off into the ocean as though they were an iceberg drifting into the warmer waters of the sea to eventually dissolve with the passage of time. 

PS:  And HA!  Yes, the pumpkin pig has a back end, too…

Yes, it's the rear of a Pumpkin Pig in a Tutu

 

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The snows of Christmas Eve in Balch Springs, Merry Christmas Y’all!

Dec 24, 2009 by

I've spent nearly 24 hours during the last month sitting out in this sleigh.  Never did I expect there to be snow out here on Christmas Eve! 

 Christmas Snow 2009 40 (1)

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When are you too old to sit with Santa?

Dec 7, 2009 by

Through the blessing of my first marriage, I have three precious daughters.  They absolutely mean the world to me.   I've been through so much with them. 

The eldest of the three is my daughter, Chandler, 12, almost 13.

Through the blessing of my second marriage, I have three wonderful sons and another daughter.  They absolutely mean the world to me, though it's sometimes perceived to the contrary.  And if you think having your own kids is rough work, try being a step-parent. 

The youngest of the three sons is Logan, 12, almost 13, and 10 days younger than Chandler. 

My Days As A Tween

I recall those days of my life. We were in Atwater, CA.  I had the world's biggest crush on Julie Nelson.  She didn't have one on me.  I was in band.  I played the drums.  I wanted so much to have my own drum set and a rock and roll band.  I wanted to have a black '57 Chevy that I worked on in our garage there on High Street. (Yeah, I know, I couldn't drive).  And I thought I knew it all. 

Nowadays, my perspective on life has changed.  I'm older now than my dad was when I was that age.  And there are many times still that I ask my tweens to do things with me that they object to because as Chandler oft puts it, "I have friends and I want to keep them." 

And so it goes.  I encourage things that a few years ago, Chandler would have been all over.  Now she won't touch them, even if she were dying. 

Case in point, my playing Santa in our front yard.  Ricky, 17, our eldest, won't go near the front yard when I'm out there.  He won't call me Santa either, which is bad because it ruins it for any of the other kids around that he'd try so hard to quash the spirit.  Jerrod and his squeeze came and sat on Santa's lap in the sleigh last week.  That was fun. They were all smiles.  Happiness!

Chandler, while she'll come outside, absolutely refuses to get up and sit on Santa's lap.  You don't know how much I wish she would.  After all, this is the sweet girl who used to ride with me to her sitters in the a.m. and we'd sing about her being a Daddy's girl.  I'd give her the front page of The Montgomery Advertiser on the ride over and she'd stare at the front page, not able to read a word, but mimicking her daddy.  This is the same child who would ride around with me on golf carts at Jubilee City Fest when I was site director, who wanted me to see about getting the Dixie Chicks to our festival and knew the key questions to consider were 1) How much are they? 2) Are they available? And 3) Do they play outdoor venues?  She was four.

Logan, surprisingly, came out front to see Santa Friday night before going to gymnastics.  It was nice.  He wanted and did sit in Santa's lap and told him (me), he wanted a skateboard for Christmas.  Saturday night, he was back out there again, this time offering cookies to the children who came by, offering Christmas pencils, playing with the younger kids who wanted to go inside Santa's Workshop and pretend to be part of such a fantastic enterprise.

When I came in on Saturday night, he stopped me and said, "I just wanted to tell you what a nice thing it is you are doing for others."  You don't know how special that was to me.  Logan and I have had our rough spots over the past four years.  It'd been a while since he'd had a dad in his life and it took some getting used to when a man was trying to shape him.  

The twins, Reagan and Haley, 10, have become so helpful to the Santa process out front. Haley is a born photographer.  She's got that natural pose for holding the camera and has a good eye.  She wants a camera for Christmas, (I think that's what she told Santa….) And she deserves one.  The first week we were out doing Santa I heard Haley tell one of her friends, "I'm so lucky."  Her friend asked her what she was lucky about and Haley's answer was, "Are you kidding?  Look around."

Ashleigh, our five-year-old, is so into Christmas.  The spirit is alive and well in this young one.

If the unfortunate were to happen tomorrow and I should not wake, I can pass to the ages knowing I've instilled something that's going to live in the hearts and minds of my kids for many years to come.  And without having to say so to my kids, they have each told me (well, Ricky hasn't, but that's okay) that what's happening out in front of our home on Friday and Saturday evenings, warm or cold, windy or calm, snowing or …. well don't push the rain point, our family is about doing something nice for others.

We don't make money off of Christmas in our front yard.  We do this to do something nice for others.  And my kids have testified to that without me having to explain it.  They've been able to gather this by seeing first-hand how other children react to coming to see Santa, to the happiness it brings another child to give them a cookie after seeing Santa, to see the surprise in the eyes of a parent who has a child/tween offering them hot chocolate on a cold winter's night and ask for nothing in return. 

To me this is the true gift and joy of Christmas.  It doesn't matter what will be under the tree for me.  It may still for my kids, but in the end, I know that I've given them something much richer than they can imagine right now; the gift of giving.  As the days of their lives pass, it will become more and more apparent to them that the special things we do in front of the house will mean more to them than what they got inside the house under the tree on Christmas morning. 

Until then, I still have one tween who won't sit in my lap, and one who wills.  And I thank God for both of them.  Merry Christmas, kids. 

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