Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Patiently Waiting!

We have had such a nice Christmas this year. Lots of fun activities, The Nutcracker, A Christmas Story, decorating, model train exhibits, still more to come, with a visit to Great Wolf Lodge!
Christmas Eve, Andrea and Steve cooked a nice dinner for us.

Christmas morning we had casseroles and more for breakfast. All the kids and grand kids joined us after enjoying what Santa brought them.

I am sure the most fun for the kids is when we finally get to open presents! Receiving presents is fun, but giving presents may be more fun. You have the anticipation of the excitement you hope the recipient will feel. I didn't wrap presents this year, I bought large gift bags. But I did picture what the kids would think when they dug something out of their bag or their stocking.

I just love the excitement on the face of a child, when they experience the fun.

I also love sharing the Christmas story with the children. All month, in Sunday School and precubbies, we learn about the birth of Jesus. I have to remind myself of the events that lead to the birth of Jesus, the wonder of the virgin birth, the sinless life, the gift that is made available to us through his birth and his death.

I didn't think about teaching salvation through the story of his birth. But when you tell the story, the subject just leads to the message. The gifts brought by the wise men foreshadow the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. And the gift of everlasting life offered when we accept and believe in Jesus.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 has been a fun Christmas Season!
Early in November we agreed to have our house in the Christmas Tour of Homes. This is a community event fundraiser, the proceeds are used to buy gifts for local children in need. Our house and Amanda and Josh's house were on the tour. We spent the month of November getting the house ready. I paid a company to hang lights on our house. I cleaned, Andrea and Paula both cleaned on my house! I organized and decorated all month! The tour was December 4, I have never had my Christmas decorations ready that early.
The night of the tour was pretty interesting, we met people from the community, and welcomed many friends and family. I have always loved decorating for Christmas and have collected Christmas ornaments and other items for years. It was fun to share some memories that the ornaments bring to mind with others. I was also proud to show off the house remodel that we did last year. Ron was responsible for showing the pool house, he was a pretty good sport about the whole ordeal.

The Lights

The Bird Tree

The Nativity Stars

The after effect of all the hard work, is having the time in December to attend as many events as possible and not have any stress about getting ready for Christmas.

Sunday night was the preschool Christmas program. This was very special this year, Jackson, Tucker, Violet and Evie are all in the preschool choir! Evie didn't get to attend the performance because she was home sick. I may be a little prejudiced, but my Grandchildren are the cutest, most talented kids ever!

Thursday, we took a group of preschoolers to go see the school version of "The Nutcracker" Ballet. It was a little long for the toddlers, but I asked Tucker if he was bored, and he said no, he liked all of it.
Sunday, we are going back for the full version, orchestra and all. I am very excited about that. I have never seen the ballet with the orchestra. To add to the excitment, I was telling Jackson about the ballet, and he knew the story because they have learned about it in school!
Saturday, I am taking Jackson, Tucker and Veronika to see, "Junie B Jones, Jingle Bells Batman Smells!", at the Children's Theater.
The next weekend, Ron and I are seeing, "A Christmas Story"! at the Rep. This is one of my favorite movies, so I am so excited to see a live production.
We will probably work in a drive to see the lights, maybe visit the Garvan Gardens.

15 and Counting
This mantle hold the Christmas stockings that I have been collecting and adding to over the years. If you were to count them, there are 15 stockings! Next year, we get to add another stocking! Actually, I have alreay added the 16th stocking!
This truly has been a great Christmas Season!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Observations on Turkey

Ron and I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, for business. We met with manufacturers from Turkey. We are looking for manufacturers for products that we can sell to the Dept of Defense. The business meetings were productive. The Istanbul Chamber of Commerce organizes this. Southwest Radiator was the smallest business represented. We were there with GM, Bosch, Hitachi!

Besides the business, we went sightseeing in Istanbul and the surrounding areas. We traveled to Bursa, Prince’s Island and Ephesus.

The climate of Turkey is much like Arkansas. The temperature is about the same. Ron and I walked around in short sleeves. The people wear leather jackets, sweaters, and the women wear the scarves and long coats. Even the other Europeans wear cold weather clothes. These people have body odor! I wondered why people talk about Europeans. When you wear a leather jacket in 75 degree temperature, you are going to smell a little ripe!

Istanbul is a very crowded city. Fifteen million people live in Istanbul! This city is packed with traffic. The drivers are so rude! I have seen bad drivers, but this is a different level of rude. They run out in front of each other, they do not stop for pedestrians! They honk at each other. The streets are small, with fruit stands and pedestrians, and the tour buses still race by.

I would guess that the majority of the millions that live in Istanbul live in poverty. They do not allow begging, I would doubt that they have any social services. You might see the very old selling junk trinkets on the street. Oh, they also sell tissues and Kleenex. This turns out to be a useful item to purchase on the street, because the public toilets do not furnish toilet paper. And they charge you to use the public restroom. The public restroom might have a traditional toilet, but will more likely have a hole in the ground, porcelain toilet contraption. There are footrests on each side, where you place your feet, and take care of business. They are usually wet because there is water running; you are to clean the area after use. These things do not come with instructions.

In Turkey, you might find need to make use of that very uncomfortable public restroom, and then find a nice restroom with a bidet. Now, that is a great cultural difference. Those things are useful. I do not know why they are popular in European countries, but not at home.

On our previous visit to Turkey, Ron did not like the food. We thought it was the seasonings that made Ron not like the food. I think it is the smells. I noticed that the smells fill the air. I think with so many people packed in that town, with a market or a cafe on every corner, you smell food cooking everywhere. Markets are on every street corner, selling fresh fruit, vegetables and fish!

It is generally excepted that you do not drink the water in Turkey. Bottled water is served everywhere. The first night at dinner, we ordered peach tea, iced tea. It came in a tall slim glass, with a garnish of fresh apples and a cherry. It was delicious! I was so impressed that they served iced tea that was so tasty. The next night we ordered the peach tea again. They brought the tall slim glass and a can of Lipton Peach Tea!

Cats are everywhere! This is on Prince's Island, but cats are all over. In the outdoor restaurants, stores, streets. I saw a tour bus stop for a cat on the street. The tour buses barely stop for people!

Turkey is rich in history! We visited the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace during our visit in 2007. Those places are so well known, with beautiful and interesting mosaics and frescoes.

This trip we visited Ephesus! This was the highlight of our trip. We sat in the auditorium where Paul preached. We walked in the streets where Paul walked. Ephesus is being restored, where time and earthquakes have taken a toll. They also said that only a small percentage have been excavated.

The Library of Celsus is the best preserved and most well known structure in Ephesus.

I would never have chosen Turkey as the country to visit. The business meetings are the only reason that we would visit Turkey. In 2007, we did not leave Istanbul. Traveling outside of Istanbul, allowed us to see the real beauty of this country. Istanbul is crowded, noisy and a little smelly. Getting out of the city allowed us to see how the rest of the country looks. Olive tree groves, orange trees, we saw people using their tractors as their transportation. On one street, there was a camel and a tractor at a stop light.

Considering that we live in a rural area, I suppose it would be understandable that we enjoyed the countryside of Turkey.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More Soccer and Fall Fun!

Tucker and his battle scar!

Go Jackson!

Yea Tucker!

The Thomas Family
Amanda and Evie on the Cow Ride!

Poppa and Fiona!
We have had so much fun the last two weekends with the grandkids!
Soccer, the Arkansas State Fair, more soccer, and Motley's Pumpkin Patch. The pumpkin patch
has pig races, a cow ride, a large hay playground with a giant slide.
Ron and I are headed off on another business trip, so we had to get some grandkids time
to hold us over while we are gone.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fun at the Fair and other Weekend Fun

Veronika on the bungee

Violet waited patiently for a ride

Veronika and Violet on the banana ride, there are very few rides for little ones

Jackson on the bucking bronco bull ride

Tucker on the bucking bronco bull ride

This weekend we babysat Jackson and Tucker, while Brad and Paula went to the Razorback Game. Saturday morning was Jackson's and Tucker's soccer game. That was fun to watch. They are both doing really well at soccer. Tucker had to be encouraged to play at first, but then he was in the game. I took pictures for Paula, when I viewed them on the computer, I have more of the other team. I was just snapping away, so Paula could make the kids a DVD of the season.
Steve brought Veronika and Violet to the game so they could go with us to the fair, while they finished their yard sale.The orginal plan was to go to the zoo. Ron said he would go with me, so we decided on the fair. And the kids said they prefered the fair. We didn't realize how HOT it would be and how hard that would be on us old folks, well at least me. The kids had fun, but even they had red faces. Ron bought 2 large lemonades, we all sucked it down in minutes. And I had brought water bottles for all the kids. We didn't get to see the livestock or arts and crafts barn. I was sad about that. There is really too much to see, unless you have the energy to stay all day. And we stuck with our plan, eat some fair food, ride a couple of rides and leave after two hours.
In all it was a great weekend! We were able to spend time with grandkids,(Thomas kids were in Dallas) saw a soccer game, the fair, got to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck, Steve grilled us some hot dogs, then finished the weekend off with seeing Jackson, Tucker and Violet sing in the Preschool Choir! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Wonder Place

The Wonder Place is my favorite place to take kids on a Saturday afternoon. It's small enough, and open enough to see all of the areas while the kids play. This particular Saturday, Andrea, Steve, Amanda, Fiona came also. I thought I could take the five kids, the walkers and talkers, as I call them.  I think maybe Evie and Violet will need to be a little older before I take 5 kids anywhere on my own. By the time they are old enough, Phoenix will want to go too!  Then Fiona.......!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jackson and Tucker

Jackson and Tucker had their first Upwards Soccer game Saturday morning. East Union sponsors Upward Soccer, I don't know a lot about the program, except that it is a Christian based sports program. The teams pray before the game, there is someone giving their testimony during the half time break and they have devotion time during the practice. I am so happy that our Church provides this outreach ministry for the kids in our community.

Jackson lead the game off with a goal in the first kickoff! I didn't get a picture of that because I wasn't expecting that much excitment at the first of the game. I kept my camera out for the rest of the game.

Ron and I have to miss the next two games because of a business trip and a family trip. The business trip has been planned for several months, and I really wanted to have this fishing trip with my sisters and our husbands. While I will really enjoy the traveling, I am already sad to be missing the boys games.

I have season passes to the Children's Theater for Jackson, Tucker, Veronika and myself. Due to our traveling, this was the only weekend I could take the kids to see "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer". Veronika wasn't here this weekend, so Andrea or Steve will have to take her later, but I wanted to be able to take Jackson and Tucker to see it. Paula left their Razorback game watch party to bring the boys to Little Rock, so we could make it to the play on time. The game wasn't even over, and it was a really exciting game end, so I especially appreciated that effort.

The play was entertaining. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were two some of my favorite books when I was young. The production was very interesting. They had the raft that Tom, Huck and their friend rode to the island when they ran away from home and they had a rope swing the boys played on when they went swimming in the creek. I think I wanted to be an adventurous boy when I was young.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grandparents Day

                                    Jackson, Violet, Phoenix, Veronika, Fiona, Tucker and Evie

Grandparents day was Sunday! We started the celebration on Thrusday, by having breakfast with Jackson at school. Ron and I had breakfast with Jackson, toured his classroom, met his teacher and some of his classmates! We were very excited, this was our first Grandparents Day at EE.

Dodi, Jackson and Poppa

Jackson and Tucker gave me a book, "The Botany of Desire." because as Jackson said,
"It's because you like plants and stuff"! It promises to be pretty entertaining book.

Sunday, we went to lunch at El Chico. We didn't really think about it being Grandparents Day. In fact, I didn't think about it until the next day. But what happened Sunday night, really made my day.

Preschool choir started for the fall on Sunday night before the evening service. Jackson, Tucker, Evie and Violet all went to choir practice. To start the evening service the preschool choir preformed! I had 4, yes FOUR! grandchildren singing in the preschool choir. I don't remember what they sang, but it was beautiful. Veronika was sitting next to me, I was holding Fiona, Phoenix was in the pew in front of us.

Now that was a Grandparents Day Gift!

Friday, September 03, 2010

More Candy

I have been corresponding with a vendor in Turkey. I finally asked him his name, because we could not determine what his name actually was from the emails. His name is Ahmet Erhan, by the way. So we send some emails back and forth about personal information, not just the usual price, delivery, shipping, etc. He asked me if I was Mr Ron wife or sister. I told him we were a family business and that I was Ron's wife and that we had 3 children and 7 grandchildren.
This is what he emailed me, unedited  and without spellcheck:
"family business it is good I am always happy when I do business more sincere more warm because its family
when you ask anyone here who is more value and candy , childeren or grandchilderen many people says here grandchilderen

for you what about this sitation who are more candy for you ,your childeren or grandchilderen

I wish you and your family healty long life and your children and grandchilderen"

I love that, my grandchildren are more "CANDY"!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Busy Year for our Golden Years

Andrea texted me about an October weekend that where thinking about traveling. I told her we would be in Istanbul that week! She said we were busy for our "Golden Years"!
We do have a busy fall scheduled. We have certain business trips that we take annually. And we have some additional activies and trips that I scheduled. I purchased season passes for Celebrity Attractions and the Children's Theatre.
We have always worked so many hours in the summer, it's the nature of the business. Long hours in the heat of the summer! Ron has worked especially hard this summer. Ron is a 60 year old man, back to working in the radiator shop! And in one of the hottest summers on record! He's still got it! There were mulitple days of 106 degrees plus, and a heat index of whatever! And he never complains about the hard work! or even the heat! I would melt if I had to walk across the parking lot.
This is why we have a busy schedule! After the long hot summer, Ron deserves some rest and relaxaton!
I decided to organize my schedule and print it out, so that the activities would not conflict. Also that my kids will know where we are and when we will be home!

                                     Schedule 2010-2011

September 5 Sunday Bird Island Trip Lake Ouachita

September 6 Monday Day Trip Mount Magazine

September 11 Saturday Babysit Jackson & Tucker

September 13 Monday Diaper Dinner/Baby Shower Amanda and Fiona

September 17-Oct 3 Fri/Sat/Sun Tom Sawyer Ark Children’s Theatre

*need to go Sept 17 weekend due to travel- Jackson, Tucker and Veronika

September 19 Sunday East Union MBC Homecoming

September 22-26? Wednesday-Sunday Knoxville Business Trip

October 1-3 Friday-Sunday Gaston’s White River Resort

October 9 Saturday Babysit Jackson & Tucker

October 16-24 Week Istanbul Turkey Business Trip

October 30 Saturday Babysit Jackson &Tucker

October 31 Sunday Fall Festival - Grandkids Hayride

November 1-4 Week Las Vegas Business Trip

November 5 Friday Amanda & Josh "Wicked" Babysit Evie/Fiona

November 6 Saturday Ron & Donna "Wicked"

November 12 Friday Andrea & Steve "Wicked"

Babysit Veronika, Violet and Phoenix

November 13 Saturday Brad & Paula "Wicked" Babysit Jackson & Tucker

November 25 Thanksgiving

November 27 Saturday Babysit Jackson &Tucker

December 3-19 Fri/Sat/Sun Junie B Jones JT&V


January 21-Feb 6 Fri/Sat/Sun The Jungle Book JT&;V

January 23 Sunday The Color Purple

March 11-27 Fri/Sat/Sun If You Give A Pig A Pancake JT&V

March 31 Thursday The A Aluminum Show

April 29-May 15 Fri/Sat/Sun There’s A Boy In The Girls Bathroom JT&V

Mixed in this schedule are birthdays, holidays, parties, dinners, play times with the grandkids. I am so excited to have such a busy year planned!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fiona's First Church Visit

Fiona Lori Thomas was brought to church for the first time last Sunday! Amanda, Josh and Evie, along with the Long family, brought their little baby girls to church. Our church presents the baby, prays for the family and for the child, that they might be taught about Jesus and his saving grace. The babies are presented their first Bible also.
Brother Paul was pretty brave to hold both of these baby girls. Fiona and Abby will be loved and cherised by their church family!
Noah, the little red headed boy, has been in my Sunday School class this year. Evie and Violet will join my class this Sunday. I am so excited about that. And in 2 short years, Fiona and Abby will be in my class, provided they still let me teach.
God is good! I cannot wait to share the Bible and the love of Jesus with these little ones.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, August 12, 2010, I turned 55!

I spent the day working, picked up dinner, came home, sat and the couch eating in front of the TV, just like I do most nights. I am not saying this to have a pity party!

I kind of like my boring life. I like my work. I love my house! I love a boring evening at home with my husband, even though he didn't get home from work until after 9!  And besides, tomorrow night, I have a date planned with Veronika, we are going to see "Annie" at Murry's Dinner Playhouse. Saturday night, Ron will be taking me out to eat and to a movie. Sunday night, I get to have dinner with all my kids and grandkids! Life is just GRAND!

I decided a few years ago, rather than risk being disappointed about my birthday, I plan it out myself. And I usually get my own gift from Ron. This year, Ron will be buying me a "macro" lens for my camera. I love to take pictures of flowers, butterflys, and hummingbirds. I don't really know what else I will use it for, but I have so many butterflys around my garden right now, I really want to capture some on camera.

There are so many changes around me right now. A new granddaughter, Baby Fiona! Jackson will start kindergarten! Those things are so exciting. We recently found out that Phoenix has some health issues. This is pretty frightening. We will not know what exactly he has until he sees some more doctors. But we do know he is a really happy baby boy, with great parents, and a bright future ahead of him. He's smart and loving, so we know he will be fine.

Through the exciting and the frightening, I am so comforted to know that God is in control! When we worry and fret about things we cannot control, and we will do that, we are actually wasting our time. God is in control. I have to remind myself of that often!

I used to wonder about getting old. And about dying. Today, Aug 12, 2010, Dan, lost his Dad, Durphy Credeur. Ann texted me and told me she was sorry it happened on my birthday. It's ok, there are always reminders of our loved ones. And you want those reminders to be pleasant, to bring back happy memories. So they can remember his better days, when they think of my birthday.

When I am gone, I want my family to remember good times. To remember how much I loved them. But more imortantly, how much I loved the Lord. I want them to know that I cared about the spiritual relationship that they had with Christ. I feel so blessed that we can worship together! I am blessed to see my grandkids in Sunday School and Chapel. I am allowed to wittness the spiritual growth of my grandkids! Jackson has been asking questions about God. He told us about learning about heaven in Vacation Bible School!  This fall, I will have Violet and Evie in my Sunday School class!
I am a blessed woman!

I am so very thankful to God for my salvation! I know where I am going! And I am loving the journey to get there!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Happy Birth Day Fiona

The Thomas Family

Dodi and Fiona

Poppa and Fiona
Friday, August 6, 2010, Fiona Lori Thomas was welcomed into the world, bounding in at a respectable 9 lb, 14.4 oz! Fiona is a beautiful baby girl, thick dark hair, chubby cheeks, just precious! From early reports from Amanda, Fiona is going to be a calm, easy baby.

Being invited into the birth room of my grandchildren is one of the most exciting, precious, unbelievable experiences of my life. I am so proud of my daughter in law and daughters for how they have nurtured their babies before birth, during the birth and nurtured these precious children as they grow.

And they have all allowed me to be a part of that experience. I am truly blessed!