Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday Happiness






My family and I are, like so many others, in the middle of a nice, long break from reality (in a manner of speaking.) The children are off from school, I am off from lessons, Rob is off from work. It's been this way well over a week and will be that way for almost another week. We are getting spoiled!

We have had some wonderful extended family gatherings over the last two weeks. The fun began on the 18th of December at Uncle Bobby and Aunt Beverly (Spurlin)'s house. We gathered in with much extended family for Christmas finger foods and chili, and had a rollicking time playing Dirty Santa together. We hadn't exchanged gifts with that bunch as a whole like that in many, many years, and it was a blast! So funny what people will fight over. Of course my brother, Dave, wound up with a Rubik's Cube! (With a little help from his loving sis...) He has always been the king of solving the Rubik's Cube. But hasn't had one in a long time. What ever happened to those things?

We have a few December birthdays in our family, also. So, we got together at Nana and Papa's (Rob's parents) for his mom's birthday last week. Them, their kids, in-laws, and grandkids. 12 of us in all. We fill up a place. Ginny's birthday wishes? A sink and can lights. I know, right? So she got Lowe's gift cards.

Then that whole crew came to our house for Christmas Eve. Our first time to host. It went so well. We ate all the wonderful favorite foods, let the kids open gifts, enjoyed visiting. I even played Christmas music on the piano for awhile, something unique to hosting at our house. Some folks sang along. And the kids played with gifts. The pictures at the top are from Christmas Eve at our house.

On Christmas morning we awoke to sheer beauty. The joy on our children's faces that Christmas had finally arrived, and the blanket of whiteness covering the earth all around us, with beautiful snowflakes continuing to fall well into the afternoon. A White Christmas! An unexpected one, at that! It was absolutely glorious. God surprised us, as only He could. And we loved it, every moment.

For Christmas lunch, we headed out to my mother's house, where we met up with her, my brother, my grandfather, his friend, Wilma, and my Uncle Calvin. It was so beautiful, the snow out in the country. And the kids got a Wii! Mother cooked up a little scheme with Uncle Calvin, too. A couple of the kids had gotten wind of the idea that a Wii might await them there after snooping around and finding a Wii game at our house. So, one of them said to my mother, "When can we open the Wii? A bit taken aback, they decided for Uncle Calvin to open the Wii as though she had bought it as HIS gift. The kids were really sweating it, let me tell you.

Poor Chloe still thinks Calvin bought them the Wii. She sent him a note via my Facebook and everything.

Next up, cousin Sarah's birthday! Baby girl will be FIVE!!!! Can not believe it. The Hunters are taking us all to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate. That will be a big hit, we always love Chuck E. I love my skeeball. The kids have to watch out for me, I'll take their tokens. (Not really. But I'll want to.)

I hope all your Christmas celebrating is going well...and that you have a lovely New Year's Eve and Day!

Blessings...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ivory tower

Ivory Tower...something I've long thought of. A place I am kept? A place I wish I were kept? A place I would like to go? A place to retreat...A place for princesses...A place from fairytales...Beautiful...Wistful. Distant. Cold? Isolated? Perhaps containing a puppy. Or (yikes!) maybe a kitty. Filled with beautifully-colored frocks, just right for singing and dancing around, just like every girl does, all day long...right? Oh, that's just me? Oh, that's right. I don't dance. (Anyone who saw my attempt at line dancing at the Halloween party will gladly verify.) Well, I twirl, anyway. And I twirl with the best.

I thought I would use my old pal, Google, to see what I could find out about the origin of the term "ivory tower". I found different ideas than what I had in my mind. I thought I would share them here. I mean, why not?

The first mention of ivory towers, everywhere I looked, is attributed to the Bible. Song of Solomon 7 :4 reads:
Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are the pools of Heshbon by the gate of Bath Rabbim. Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon looking toward Damascus.
Well, that wasn't anything like what I thought. At any rate, according to Websters-dictionary-online.com, in Judeo/Christian tradition, I discovered, the term Ivory Tower has been a symbol for noble purity. Also, in Catholicism, it is used to refer to the Virgin Mary.

The other meanings I came across for ivory tower were not half so romantic as I had in my mind. I found many long, fascinating, and some rather arduous explanations. Here I think I'll keep it simple. At answers.com the American Heritage Dictionary's definition is this:
A place or attitude of retreat, especially preoccupation with lofty, remote, or intellectual considerations rather than practical everyday life.
The term is said to be "used most often in reference to intellectuals and artists who remain complacently aloof." Uh-oh. I'm a musician--that's an artist of a sort. Hmm. Maybe this dream of a lovely ivory tower isn't such a great idea. I don't want to be preoccupied with lofty considerations. Well, okay. I do. Some of the time. But definitely not a place to stay. Practical everyday life is pretty important, too.

Maybe I can just go there for an hour or two...now and then...

Blessings...


Monday, November 15, 2010

I am alone in the house for a little while this morning. I always enjoy my quiet time between sending kids off to school and the time when I go off to teach lessons. Well, I send three of them off -- Joey, Abbie, and Chloe ride the bus to Mill Creek. Julianne refuses to ride the bus to Liberty so I drive her. And that's fine. If I needed her to ride the bus for some reason she would. Our days begin a little earlier now than they had to last year when the kids were still at Madison Academy -- we could almost get away with waiting until 7:00 to get up then. Now I wake up the younger three at around 6:00, for they go out to catch the bus at 7:00. School starts at 7:40. And at 8:05 for Julianne. Of course, I remember the days when school started at 7:00 for me, in high school ... and A.P. club began at 6:15 ... perish the thought. Bless Joey Davenport's heart for coming to pick me up for A.P. club so many times.

The kids have pretty much adjusted to their new schools, now. Julianne is having several new friends over for a birthday sleepover this Friday night after a Fall Dance at school. Abbie has had movie outings with new friends, and a sleepover. Joey had some friends over for a movie outing and a sleepover for his birthday. Chloe went to a birthday party for a new friend, and we are going to see her grade perform at a PTA program this evening, so we'll get to meet parents and friends. It's really good to get to know people who live around us.

The children are especially interested in the spirituality of the new people they have come into contact with -- I hear about it the most from Abbie and Chloe. They'll tell me who believes in God and who doesn't. It's been challenging to try to teach them how to approach people, and not to be pushy about their faith, but just to befriend people and, without words, simply demonstrate to them how God-followers live, rather than saying, "THIS is what YOU should do." That's a good way to turn people off, and sometimes for good ... I know I probably did that myself in elementary and middle school sometimes. I'm trying to encourage them to build friendships first, and trust, and that spiritual discussions can come a little later. I'm prayerful about their mission-minded hearts.

Well, my time is almost up for this morning. Off I go to teach the wonders of quarter notes, eighth notes, dynamics, pedaling, and so many other things that I myself take for granted. It's a hard job for me to break it down sometimes.

Blessings ...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November

November. One of my favorite months of the year. Maybe because it contains my birthday. Maybe because it contains Thanksgiving. I kind of associate the two, really, always have. That's probably because I always got my birthday present from my maternal grandparents when we went down to Alabama to see them for Thanksgiving. Aah, Thanksgiving.

Lots of family. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Grandparents. Great-Grandfather, too, until 1980? Everyone together. We did that for a lot of years, longer than most families do, probably. Many of us will still get together this Thanksgiving, at the eldest uncle's home. Four generations, again, since 1997 when I started having children, for my grandfather is still living -- 87 and going strong.

Anyway. November also contains the birthdays of two of my children. And since Joey has had his birthday, he and Julianne are both 12 for another week or so until her birthday. He always enjoys his 12 days to be the same age as she is. But then she'll be 13 -- and I will be the mother of a teenager. [Say it isn't so!]

I am teaching piano lessons 2 1/2 days a week this school year, for now. Trying to figure what else I could do to bring in a few dollars that would fit in with our family's schedule. I'll have to get back into doing some music arranging. I miss it, and my heart needs it, anyway. I've just got to remind folks that little ol' me is down here in Alabama, far away from the swing of things. :-) At least that's how it feels sometimes. I can't believe it's almost 5 years since we left Nashville. Oh, the kids have long-since adjusted, I suppose, but I have my days when I pine. It was home.

I pray God's blessings on all who read!