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Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

So many men of my generation gave their lives on the fields and in the hills of Viet Nam for a war that, at the time, made absolutely no sense to me.   Even now, the horror of nightly news still resonates with me.

To all our servicemen and women, thank you for standing in harm’s way to protect our nation and our freedoms.  I am very aware that freedom is never free.

For those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, words will never adequately convey the deep sense of gratefulness that comes over me whenever I try to say “thank you”.

There are no words – other than I thank you, I honor you, I cherish the fact that I live freely in the greatest nation on this earth because there were individuals who gave of themselves freely, without hesitation, throughout our country’s existence to ensure that our freedoms remain intact.  You are not forgotten.

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To all mothers everywhere – Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy-Mother-s-Day-Mother-and-Child-in-Veil-PostersBefore I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

CB106347
Before I was a Mom,

I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt.

I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Mother and ChildBefore I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

mother-child-silhouette-cli

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life.

Thank you to one of my Kindermusik moms, Myra Stewart, for sending this on to me.    Happy Mother’s Day, Myra!

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Three Valentine Cupids

Fun Valentine’s Day Fingerplays for your Family

Five Little Hearts

Five little hearts, all in a row

The first one said, “I love you so.”

The second one said, “Will you be my Valentine?”

The third one said, “I will, if you’ll be mine.”

The fourth one said, “I’ll always be your friend.”

The fifth one said, “We’ll all be friends until the very end.”

How Many Valentines?

Valentines, valentines,

how many do you see?

Valentines, valentines:

One for Father, (hold up thumb)

One for Mother, (hold up pointer)

One for Grandma, (middle finger)

One for Sister, (ring finger)

One for Brother, (little finger)

And here is one for you!

(make heart shape with both thumbs and pointer fingers)

Do You Know the Little Love Bug?

(to be sung to “The Muffin Man”)

Do you know the little love bug,

the little love bug, the little love bug?

Do you know the little love bug

who comes on Valentine’s Day?

He comes to give a hug and kiss,

a hug and kiss, a hug and kiss.

He comes to give a hug and kiss

To (child’s name) on Valentine’s Day!

Wedding

For Mom and Dad’s Enjoyment

“When you fall in love, I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.” (Harlen, 8 )

“To get a girl to fall in love with you… take her out to eat. Make sure it’s something she likes to eat. French fries usually works for me.” (Bart, 9)

“Love is foolish…..but I might try it sometime.” (Floyd, 9 )

“Once I’m done with kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.” (Tom, 5)

“On the first date, most people tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” Mike, 9

“Never kiss in front of other people. It’s embarrassing if anybody sees you. But if nobody sees you, I might be willing to try it with a handsome boy, but just for a few hours.” (Kelly, 9)

“It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them.” (Lynette, 9)

“Love and Marriage: It gives me a headache to think about that stuff. I’m just a kid. I don’t need that kind of trouble.” (Kenny, 7)

“Love; No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.” (Jan, 9)

“Falling in love is like an avalanche where you have to run for your life.” (Roger, 9)

“If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.” (Leo, 7)

“It isn’t always just how you look. Look at me. I’m handsome like anything and I haven’t got anybody to marry me yet.” (Gary, 7)

“Lovers hold hands to make sure their rings don’t fall off because they paid good money for them.” (Dave, 8 )

“Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I have been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.” (Bobby, 8 )

“I’m not rushing into being in love. I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” (Regina, 10)

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my Kindermusik Families!

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new-years-balloons-and-confetti

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I really, really love the holiday season, with all of its joys and wonders.

I enjoy the anticipation of seeing a loved one’s face when they open a gift and find something they had deeply desired but did not expect to receive due to the high cost or time-expenditure involved in obtaining it.

As a musician, I love being a part of the holiday build-up, participating in so many Christmas programs – as a musician, a director, and an educator.   Providing holiday music to willing listeners who enjoy and praise your efforts is always a joy and pleasure.

I even enjoy shopping to an extent – when I am able to get out *early* in the morning around 7:30 or 8 AM before the mall’s parking lots begin to fill with the crazies who cruise up and down the lanes, looking for that one spot closest to the door when they could easily have parked their car five or six slots further down the hill and walked up, saving time *and* gas.

I love remembering Christmases past and sharing family stories with my children, now old enough to appreciate those of  family members no longer with us and to enjoy hearing their own versions of those they shared in as very young children.

However, this Christmas season we had a new experience that I could just as soon done without.

The day after my previous post, my mother-in-law’s home, located nearby, was broken into and ransacked.   There wasn’t really anything of monetary value in her home to steal – only sentimental and precious items that drew their value from their previous owners – all family who are no longer living.

According to DeKalb County police, the intruders are suspected as being juveniles looking for game systems, flatscreen televisions, laptops, etc. that they can easily turn around and sell for $50 or less in a couple of hours.

When the burglars couldn’t put their hands quickly on anything like that in her home, they weren’t satisfied until they had basically taken every drawer out and dumped it, pulled everything out of every closet and off every shelf in the process, leaving behind a complete and total mess all over the house.

We were advised that we would be contacted by a DP detective who would handle our case, but seeing as there wasn’t a great deal stolen and no apparent clues left behind, there’s not a great deal of hope for recovering what was lost.  If we saw anything or anyone suspicious in our neighborhood, we should contact the DCPD immediately and let them know.

So, this year, we weren’t worried about whether or not we’d get all our shopping done in time or all the packages wrapped before running out of scotch tape.  We didn’t really think about whether or not the UPS tracking number was messed up, saying only, “Shipper info received” for three days with no change in location *anywhere*.

Instead it was whether or not it was even safe to leave our own home unattended for a few hours to go visit other family members and share Christmas with them.

We were finally able to relax yesterday and enjoy a pleasant Christmas Day with our children and extended family, sharing a good meal and relishing the chaos of gift-giving and package-demolition that a family with nine members creates.

Then today – another reminder that there really are individuals out there whose sole intent is to take what doesn’t belong to them only because they’re too lazy to work for it like the rest of us.

We had a young couple, male and female, come to our door this afternoon, clipboard in hand, wearing name badges with an AT&T logo in the lower right-hand corner,  saying that they were with AT&T, going door-to-door, checking with AT&T customers about their bills and whether or not they had received a reduction in monthly fees as had been reported.  (their words)

According to them, there had been a number of complaints in our area from AT&T customers that the reduction had not come through in their bills and this couple’s job was to check on the status of our satisfaction with AT &T.

One of their first questions was whether or not we have only phone service or phone and internet service.  (Shouldn’t this information already be in their system?)

When I asked if they had any identification, they both pointed to their name badges (which, coincidentally, did not have an individual picture on them – more on that later), and the young woman laughed, saying, “No, really, we’re here to help you eat up some of the leftovers from all that food you had yesterday.”

When I replied, “Well, you’re out of luck – there’s not much left”, her response was “No biggy.”  (Is this really a professional reply from a professional marketing surveyor?)

At this point, my personal radar is screaming – WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?

When they finally got to the point of asking about our billing, I used the convenient tool I always use when asked something by a marketing individual that I don’t want to answer:

“My husband handles all that.  He’s gone to the store right now (which did happen to be true), and he’ll be back in 30 minutes.”

The young woman replied, “Well, we’ll be going down the street and looping around.  We’ll be coming back by here in a little while.  If we see him, we’ll stop back by.”

When I asked where they were parked, they both gestured down the street and vaguely replied “Down there.”  (which I did look in that direction – no car was to be seen.)

As soon as they left, walking down the street, I ran inside and called my husband on his cell, telling him the story as quickly as I could.  He had been heading for the store to pick up a prescription for our son, but immediately turned around to come back and look for these people.

My daughters and I watched as the couple continued down the street and back up the other side, literally going door to door, finding very few people at home today.  (I suspect some of our neighbors were out at Stonecrest, scooping up after-Christmas bargains.)

I tried repeatedly to call 3-1-1 – the non-emergency number for DeKalb PD, but had no luck reaching anyone.  Frustrated by this, I decided to go ahead and call 9-1-1 even though it really wasn’t an emergency situation as I think of an emergency.

The 911 operator was very helpful, taking down my information and reassuring me that they’d have someone out there soon, which, amazingly enough, happened within 5 minutes or so.

In the meantime, my husband had come back and stopped this couple, standing literally in his mother’s carport at her door, and had asked for their supervisor’s name and phone number.

He was given a single name – Bruno – and a 1-866 number that our daughters googled and found to be an ATT customer service number with the full menu of options to select from that drives *all* of us crazy.

He also asked for their names – Jamie and Rusty, which they wrote down – but couldn’t really verify this with their badges as he could not see them that well outside the van.

By the time the police arrived, “Jamie” and “Rusty” had continued on up the road and around the corner on the next side street.  My husband had continued to ride around the neighborhood, keeping an eye on them, talking with AT&T on his cell, asking about ID as well, but the police somehow missed them when they left our home after speaking with me in our yard.

It became very obvious to me that not only was I unnerved by this, but our daughters and next-door neighbor as well.   All of us were on edge, wondering if these people were legit or not.

My oldest daughter had called AT&T while this was all taking place and asked them if they could tell us if they knew of anyone from their company in our area going door to door.

She was advised that if the couple was legitimately representing AT&T, they would be wearing picture  ID’s – not just name badges.  Not only that – they would not come inside the home or ask to; they are prohibited from doing that.

Other information we found out was that any representative should have a letter of authorization as well as a number to call to verify their identity business.

When David had asked for their supervisor’s name and phone number, he was given the previously mentioned name and number written on the back of a poorly photocopied sheet of various monthly plans with an ATT logo at the bottom.  No letter of authorization of any kind was shown.

In the process of riding through the neighborhood, David found a car parked on the side of the road on another side street just above our home.

As he drove by the BMW after writing down the tag number, he saw the young woman, “Jamie”,  walking up the hill to the car.  She waved and flagged him down, asking if he was following them around.

When he told her that he was just keeping an eye on the neighborhood, she told him that he’d better be careful – the police might pick him up because she had called them, telling them that a man was following them around. (The police later told us that no such call had been received.)

My sweet, gentle husband informed her that that was fine with him, and she might want to be careful, too, because we had called the police about them.

Bottom line?

We still don’t know for sure if the couple was really asking for information as representatives of AT&T or on a fishing expedition of the neighborhood homes.   By the time a second unit of the DeKalb PD came back by and talked with us, the car and couple was gone.

The police officer that spoke with us then said that he had been involved in a similar call recently in the area that did turn out to be a legitimate follow-up by a different media company.   It also involved a couple, male and female, that, because of the physical appearance of one of them, caused questions to be raised in the minds of the homeowners who were approached at the door.

He also advised us that sharing the information with our neighbors (which we did and continue to do) is the very best thing we could do to protect ourselves and our neighborhood.

In his words, “You’re out here (in the area) all the time.  We’re only here 10% of the time.   You know who belongs here and who doesn’t.  Stay alert and continue to watch out for anything or anyone suspicious and report them.  That helps us out to protect you.”

So I’m left wondering if I panicked over nothing, or did I possibly give a potential burglar cause to stop and say, “Nah, I don’t think I’ll mess with this neighborhood.  Too many busybodies.”

Was I overly sensitive to a woman who struck me as very unprofessional in her demeanor, or was she, in my husband’s words, possibly just a college student out to make a few bucks between semesters?

Was I possibly judgmental to someone who apparently has not had the benefits of education and socio-economic upbringing that I had?

I don’t know;  I cringe at the thought of that kind of bigotry.

But I do know this – I’m not going to go through another Christmas, looking over my shoulder, wondering if someone’s watching our house, plotting to break in.

My New Year’s resolution that is actually *not* for New Year’s but today, December 26th, 2008 is this – I’m going to be more proactive – notifying our neighborhood watch that successfully got the speedbreakers installed on our street not to let down their guard, but to keep eyes and ears open.

We are a community of families that just happen to reside in nearby homes who need to look out for each other just as neighbors did when I was a child.

No longer can we be content to just stay in our homes, contacting only family members and immediate friends via phone, mail, and email.  We have to reach out to those we recognize by sight here in our neighborhoods, even when we don’t know their names.   Our family’s peace of mind may depend on it.

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Every year the Christmas Spirit seems to strike me at some point in time for no particular rhyme or reason.  This past week has been so full of activities that were holiday-related that I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it’s struck tonight. 

Whatever the reason, I share this video with you of one of my all-time favorites, Nat King Cole, singing “The Christmas Song” written by Mel Torme and Bob Wells on a hot July afternoon in 1945.  While the audio of this clip is not the best reproduction, I love being able to actually watch Nat King Cole sing as well as hear his wonderful voice.  It brings back many warm, beautiful memories of my childhood.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Merry Christmas!

 

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I am *SO* thankful for so many things this year –

for a loving husband of 34 years who fell in love with me 39 years ago and was willing to wait for me to graduate from high school and for him from college before we got married (we were friends before we were actually *interested* in each other),
for five beautiful, wonderful children and the extra-special blessing this year of a daughter-in-law who adores my son,
for an “adopted” daughter who has learned to believe in herself and also to say “I love you” and give terrific hugs,
for a sister who is a breast cancer survivor,
for a brother who is a cancer warrior just now,
for an aunt who is like no other, and we wouldn’t have her any other way (those of you who know Aunt Betty know what I mean),
for being able to stay in touch with my niece & nephew and my great-nieces through Facebook,
for renewed insurance eligibility for our daughter, Sara, (Thank You, LORD!)
for godly, loving friends who know all my faults (well, most of them) and love me anyway,
for a warm, loving, PRAYING body of believers who are willing and ready to stand in the gap for anyone in need of prayer,
for the awesome privilege of playing my flute for God’s glory each Sunday morning in the worship service at Zion,
for the joy of working with young children and their parents in my Kindermusik classes – it renews me each and every day to sing and dance with them,
for the blessing of sharing music with my piano students and instilling in them the belief that they are only limited by how self-disciplined or self-motivated they are or are not,
for the magic of teaching Simply Music to my beginning students and seeing the magic happen right before my eyes – who would ever have thought students could learn so easily and effortlessly?
for the blessing of music which weaves through my life every day from the time I get up until I lay my head down each night,
for my Lord Jesus Christ – Soli Deo Gloria!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends! May this day be filled with love, laughter, and beautiful memories that will last a lifetime!

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