Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Tidings

Stocking - NeedleArt by Zweigart

Tree - NeedleArt by Zweigart

Noel - M Designs

These are ornaments that went inside lined tins for three friends of mine as part of our exchange gifts. We all live within two hours of each other and try to meet at our LNS every few months or so. Today was our small Christmas party and we had so much fun. Since DH gave me a gift certificate to the LNS and they had a great sale going on, I felt perfectly free to buy stash. Got several charts and lots of threads (50% off). Cannot beat that.

I'm still in a Christmas stitching mood, so I decided to join Nancy M. & Chris's Ornament Challenge group. I'm giving the link from Nancy's blog - I can't get it to pull up on mine.
I'm also in the Bride's Tree SAL so I want to adapt this particular New England St. Nick for the December ornament.
Below are the wonderful gifts from our exchange. I think I'm set for a long time. :)

Christmas was a blur now, I think. We celebrated with extended family the weekend before (right before we lost our dog), went to see the Dead Sea scrolls that Mon. with brother's family, had Christmas Eve service and gifts with immediate family that night, open house Christmas Day, and then left for wedding rehearsal in FL next day, and wedding on Sat. Wedding was beautiful and very sweet. Came home Mon. and had Christmas party with friends today & trip to LNS. Fun, but busy. I'm looking forward to being able to stitch some this week. I've included a few pictures of the happenings.
All of us at the wedding.....

My mom and me - she turned 88 on Dec. 22 and can still run rings around most of us. Good thing she doesn't read my blog, because she'd shoot me for posting her age. She has battled cancer and congestive heart failure these past few years, so I am very thankful to still have her.

And lastly, as a surprise, my DH gave us all key chains with Indiana's photograph etched onto the silver. A lady does this out of her home locally.

Thank you to all those that read my blog and post comments. They are truly appreciated. Hope everyone has a wonderful rest of the holiday. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Indiana is the name of our sweet golden retriever. We went to the breeder before he was born and chose the mom & dad of the litter & then specified the sex. He was born on Dec. 27, 1999, & at five weeks old, we went and picked him out of the litter. We had to wait to get him until he was eight weeks old. Our three children were gone that weekend and we had him waiting when they got home; he was such a beautiful puppy. Since that time, he has brought us tremendous joy & love. Even though he's a big dog, we wanted him to be indoors with us so we could really have him as part of our lives.
This is the dog that loved everyone & knew no stranger. We used to say that if anyone ever came in the house to rob us, he'd say - Come on in! Party's here!!. My daughter came up with the idea of introducing him as - This is Indiana.....Indiana Bones. Pretty cute, huh, especially since we were all Indiana Jones fans. My DH used to take him out in the truck with him sitting on the console watching it all. Of course, that seat didn't last too long as he grew.
He loved to escape from the outside door & comb the entire neighborhood, as we're attempting to catch him. Of course, all it took was for someone besides the family to call him or be outside. Our neighor's son became the pro at going to get him, for which we are eternally grateful!
Indiana became afraid of the dark or thunderstorms after several years, though we never knew which one exactly started it. Sort of a vicious cycle. Then he'd park himself right by your side or under your feet if he could. He would have given anything to be a lap dog, but he just didn't fit.

His breath would absolutely knock you over, but he loved you! I used to say, who needs men when you have Indiana. He'd burp, snore, poot, roll around, and whimper while he slept. Mooching or scarfing food was one of his favorite pastimes & he was good, really good at it. It all started when my son had made this really great sandwich he'd been looking forward to. He went to answer the phone and left it on the counter. Well, you guessed it. When he turned around, no sandwich & innocent Indiana is licking his chops! We learned to never leave food in his range or hold something in your hand by your side. He could beg with the best of them by simply looking at you and edging closer. I don't think he ever got full in his life. Food was always something to bargain for, especially peanut butter.
He was always waiting for you at the door with his tail wagging 60 mph. Indiana loved for you to pet him and would sit perfectly still or lean so hard against you, because he relaxed so much, that he would just about knock you over.
He used to be terrorized by our seven pound demon cat (he was 70 pounds), but he figured it out after awhile. She'd whip up on him and he'd just sit there and take it. She'd sail on him and attack his jowls and bite the mess out of him, until he finally got tired of it and trapped her with his paw. Too funny and you'd think he'd have killed her to hear her screech. But then she'd go back again.
Indiana's favorite thing in the world to do besides eat, was to play with DH & DS. They'd get on the floor and wrestle, roll, and heaven knows what else. You'd have thought he was eating them to listen to him growl and bark, but it was all play. He slept in DS' room whenever DS was home and it was always his "safe" room. If there were a thunderstorm or power outage and we weren't around, he'd head up there to stay. Later, when DD was home, he'd sleep in there, too.
This Sun., early in the morning, we unexpectedly lost our sweet dog. His last act at home was trying once again to mooch some food off someone when he collapsed. After the trip to the emergency vet, we learned how bad things really were. There was little warning, and he'd been fine and running around as he always had. At least we know that he was happy and had no suffering. We had to make the decision to let him go and at 5:30 AM Dec. 21, six days shy of his 9th BD, we said good-bye to Indiana.
Strangely now, our house seems so quiet. I didn't realize how often I heard him moving around if I were in another room. He'd shake his head & I'd hear the collar and tags. Funny the things you don't think about beforehand. While we are all really sad about our loss, I know how privileged we were to have him for the time that we did. He was one of the best examples of unconditional love I think I've ever seen. My DH used to tell people jokingly that one of his goals in life was to get his wife and kids to love him the way his dog did. :)
Even though we've had dogs in the past and may do so again in the future, I don't know if there will ever be one quite like him. So I feel blessed to have had him as part of our family. He will never be forgotten.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Little of This, A Little of That

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. Do you ever feel that life sometimes is rolling by so fast, you can barely catch your breath. I haven't been able to stitch much this month - you know how December is.

I'm including a few pics of my son who just graduated from NC State Wed. Hard to believe that he's done. Now when it comes to high school, we're all sentimental, because our chickies are getting ready to fly on their own. But college is a little different. We're so darn glad they're out & no more payments, that the sentimentality is almost lost. But DH & I are very proud of him & all his hard work.

Speaking of DH's, mine is a real sweetie. DH & T, the father whose son died recently, are both big Harley fans. T has been wanting a motorcycle cover, so DH had one embroidered to honor his son and the original design was framed for Andrew's mom. The people at the Harley shop were so nice and the cover is just perfect.

The interesting part is that DH was planning to give this to the fire station to give to the parents. Our friends weren't supposed to know it came from DH. But while DH was picking up the cover, he spread it out to show one of the workers there. He heard a voice behind him asking, "What have you done?". Yep - DH didn't even see him come in or know he was there, but T & his son were there to buy a motorcycle cover & saw DH. Well, that pretty much shot the anonymity, but it was so sweet. T started crying & hugging him & then they all started. DH just couldn't get over the odds of T being there then. Best laid plans....
Stitching wise, my time has been consumed with December madness! Eighteen of our family are coming in this weekend for dinner at our house. I've been scrambling to get Mom's & my presents bought. I wasn't planning on decorating too much for Christmas, but I have a decoration Nazi as my youngest, who would be upset if I didn't still decorate. She helped, so I can't complain... :)

Last weekend I went to a lovely bridal shower for my future DIL. While I was there, I HAD to go visit The Stitch and Frame Shop in Rock Hill, SC. If you ever go near there, go visit. It's great & the people there are so helpful & friendly. And yes, I did pick up some stash that I'm dying to start on. One is They Came Bearing Gifts by The Stitching Parlor. I decided to change a few colors & chose a red sparkly fabric for it. I'm itching to start, but I also need to get back to the Travel Sampler, too.

We had a cookie exchange at our LNS Monday night stitching group - yum yum! I actually did stitch some. Will post a pic later, but I did stitch!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Carols #2 - Jingle Bells

For all those being hit with snow a little early or even right on time, here's an appropriate Christmas carol for you. I'm in the South & I'm jealous, but only during Christmas time :) While Jingle Bells may not have the hauntingly touching story of IHTBOCD (see 11/20 post), I wouldn't have figured its origin. Actually, there are somewhat differing views on how it really came to be.
One of them states that James Pierpont, a Boston Sunday School teacher (or Savannah - one of the differing controversies...) , taught this to his pupils for Thanksgiving in 1857. It was originally entitled "The One Horse Open Sleigh" - there's a no-brainer LOL - His class learned it very quickly and performed it. Pierpont had been by a friend's home who had the only piano in town. His friend called it a "merry jingle" and thought it would be successful. Little did they both know! The song was changed and brought back out at Christmas. Voila! Instant Christmas song.
Interesting little note about Pierpont - his father was a poet and reverend and his uncle was J. P. Morgan, the famous financier who merged several companies and formed General Electric and the U.S. Steel Corporation (around the 1900's).

"Jingle Bells"
1. Dashing through the snow,
in a one-horse open sleigh,
O'er the fields we go,
Laughing all the way.
Bells on bobtail ring,
Making spirits bright,
What fun it is to ride and sing
a sleighing song tonight!
Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells,
Jingle all the way!
Oh what fun it is to ride
in a one-horse open sleigh!

2. A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride,
And soon Miss Fannie Bright,
Was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank,
Misfortune seemed his lot,
He got into a drifted bank
And then us got upsot!
Oh! Jingle bells ...

Now seriously, doesn't this sound like tons of fun?!

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Tribute to Andrew

I write this post with a heavy heart. One of our neighbor's sons (25) was involved in a tragic accident Tues. night; he had been on life support with little chance of survival. He's an organ donor and they were waiting for the right time to remove the respirator. They removed it Thurs. to see if there were any chance of life. Sadly, there wasn't and his brain had no activity. So they put him back on it to save his organs. Today was his final day.
I haven't seen Andrew much these past few years, as he's out of the home, married and busy with his work as a full time & volunteer fireman - his life's dream. But I remember the teenager who was so friendly, caring and helpful to everyone - the one who came to our house during an unprecedented snow and we all went sledding. He loved his grandmother dearly and spent a lot of time with her. After having his heart broken as a teen during dating (as most teens do), he found the love of his life and married her several years later. His mother told me at the hospital Wednesday that Andrew would be with his stepdad's mom soon (who died earlier this year). They had held out hope for a miracle for him at first, but his condition worsened.
We don't know what will happen tomorrow. Our life is like a vapor that's here for a short time and then vanishes away. We have no guarantees that everything we hold dear in this life will be here tomorrow. This is a grim reminder to me to cherish my loved ones today and be thankful for what I've had so far, regardless of the outcome - not so easy to do, either. I may not understand it all here now, but I put my trust in the One who does. Vonna wrote a post today about our treatment of other people and striving for the best. It again is a wonderful reminder of how to live our lives. Do we want to live for ourselves or others? A very sobering thought, sometimes. I certainly don't attain this the way I should. But it's also true that we can start each moment afresh with the resolve to love others and live our lives in a manner that would make a difference in someone else's life. A true purpose to have - Andrew, you were this type of man. You will be missed.