Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

At least once in a lifetime, everyone should have the kind of Christmas we had this year.

Grandparents are here, the kids sang at Christmas Eve service, there is a possibility of a white Christmas, and our family grew by four feet.

We decided this year to try to keep the "stuff" to a minimum...and try to focus on making memories. When we came home from church after Christmas Eve service, a box was wiggling and whining under the tree.

I can't wait to watch the video that Monte took... It as the kind of moment I wish I could have frozen as I couldn't watch all the kids' expressions at once. The kids welcomed our new goldendoodle puppy...Abigail Christmas Savage (Abby) with shouts, shrieks, and tears.

Monte and I welcomed her at midnight, three and six o'clock anticipated. It's crazy... we know it. But I know how fast the moments fly by...and how quickly life can change. It was a once in a lifetime Christmas. We hope you had one too.

Merry Christmas ...and may God bless you with the heart of a child this new year.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Program

It just isn't Christmas (at least by Methodist standards) until you've done the Christmas program. There must be a Mary, Joseph, wise men, angels and shepherds. And, if you ARE Methodist, you know there must also be food. It has been my children's experience that church=donuts and that Christmas programs=potluck. It's as certain as sunrise.

I am thankful that we have landed in a church here that believes as we do... in the Christmas play. And the potluck. And in teaching the children (and reminding us) what Christmas is all about.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sometimes Christmas Comes Early...

Dear Emma, Grayson, Claire and Cooper,

I know there is a lot of hype surrounding Christmas... and not all of it is good. The shopping, the cleaning, the cooking... it can distract us from the real reason behind the season. No matter what the politically correct world we live in tries to tell you - it is about Jesus. His birth and His love.

In that spirit, Christmas came early for me this year. I'm telling you about it because I hope you make the time to do this - at least once - in your life. More often if you can. You see, it's addicting. It's Christmas.

You all have more than you need. In that, you are blessed. But you don't need it all. So I cleaned house. You didn't even notice it - that tells me I could probably do it again. And should.

I took games, toys, puzzles, and clothes - all in remarkably good shape and put it in bags - disguised as trash. I put it in my car and drove it to one of the daycares I service in Durham. The teachers knew I was coming - I had asked if I could donate some things to some kids I had noticed wear the same clothing day after day. They graciously agreed to let us help.

When I pulled up wearing my Santa hat and unloaded the bags, the teachers let the kids watch. It was a "joyful noise" as only God-led African-American southern women could do (Yes, I asked them if I could say that). I went to see a kiddo for speech while the teachers and kids sorted things out. I hadn't brought in that much ... but when I got back to the classroom 40 minutes later, it was apparent some things had changed. New toys were playing explored, clothes were being tried on, and the kids were excited about a little bit of something new in their day. And the teachers were grateful.
You see, that's my point. It doesn't have to be a lot. Or new. But doing something for someone else CHANGES things. It may give someone something they didn't have before. I guarentee it will give you something even better. The feeling I get every time I compliment a little girl on her "new dress" that immediately brings to mind you wearing it... takes my breath away.

You might disagree with this next statement because of your ages. But I can tell you with absolute certainty... if Santa didn't bring another present this year, Christmas still came to our house...just a little early.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Girl Scout Thin Mint Recipe

Dear Friends,
It is only because I love you (and I can no longer make them in knee deep snow with Mary Jo in Wisconsin) that I am imparting to you my GSTM recipe. I regret I no longer have the original... but it was no good anyway. Savage kids, if you save any of my recipes, save this one.

Ingredients - Ghiradelli melting and candymaking chocolate- Sam's is the best place to get this... only available in 2.5 lb blocks at Christmastime. Do NOT get the cheap waxy melting chocolate. It is not worth the effort. Peppermint extract. Get two if you can find them as they sell out this time of year. Ritz crackers. Circles... not snowflake. The corners break off. Low-salt variety is the best but reg is fine too.

Melt choc. slowly in a double boiler. I use a smaller pan inside a big pan filled with water. Do not allow water to boil and stir frequently as you don't want it to scorch. Break 2.5 block into smaller pieces and melt that way. When choc. pot is 3/4 full, take off heat and add 3-4 tsp ppmt extract. Do the taste test. I like mine minty as I find some of the extract evaporates in the heat. Stir well. Put in cracker horizonatally...flip with fork so both sides are covered and take out (with fork) and place on wax paper on cookie sheet. Use wax paper so cookies don't stick. When you have a sheetful, put in freezer or outside for 10-15 minutes until almost (or) frozen. Not only are they easier to deal with when frozen, but they taste better this way... as well GSTM connieseurs know.

Make a bunch and freeze them. They make excellent ice cream sandwiches for summer and I have been known to use some crushed as ice cream topping. If there are any left over that is...

If you make them and love them, let me know. If you don't love them, it must be operator error!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Proud of You Guys ....

Dear Emma, Grayson, and Claire,

We've been here in North Carolina almost six months now. I know how hard it was for you to leave. I know where part of your heart still is. I realize your school was comfortable and familiar and that you knew what was expected of you.

But I want you to know how proud I am of you. You have risen to the occasion on so many levels. You have stretched and grown in ways I hadn't expected. You are stronger than you know.

I am especially proud of your efforts at school. All of you are gifted differently ... and I am happy to see you utilizing them. While grades are important ... equally as important are the character traits described by your teachers. Academics are only a (small) part of who makes you who you are. A kind and giving spirit will always give you more happiness than straight A's.

Thank you for believing in yourselves and in us as a family. We know we've rocked your world a few times. Thank you for rocking ours.

Mom and Dad