Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas night

Christmas is a lovely time.  I love Advent worship--singing carols, hearing the reading from Luke that I can say in my head during the reading, communion, families,hugs, and Merry Christmas greetings.  OK, cookies, wonderful food, watching the kids play with toys that I've never heard of!!. 

The rain is pouring day and the weather channel is telling me to be safe.  My prayers are for all those who have lost loved ones this Christmas.  Prayers for a good friend whose health turned around so his family could love him through another Christmas. 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a peaceful, safe night.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Listening to CMA Christmas special . Just now Christmaas Eve, GA time that is. Spent fun time with Duke Boy's family today.  Four kids under 6 opening presents is too much fun.  Got to hold Baby Jake since he's too little to be in the mix too much. After a good meal and desserts time to go home for my Sunday nap. 

Peace to all celebrating Christmas.  Safe travel weather..  Watch out for Santa.  Still remember as a kid coming home from my Grandmother's on Christmas Eve. Tracking Santa on the radio while I struggled to stay awake in the warm car. 

Duke Boy, my prince

Thursday, December 20, 2012

31 years with Duke Boy

31 years ago today I married Duke Boy.  He was truly a Duke Boy then with another semester left at Duke in the seminary. I was happily living and working in Gainesville, Ga at a job that I enjoyed.  OK, that's the stuff for my upcoming book that I SHALL write one day. 

Fast forward to our wedding: the scene is the Wesley Foundation at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Now if you go to the Publix near the campus and stand close to the milk then you will be approximately on the site of our nuptials. There were probably a hundred people who came to wish us well. It wasn't a fancy ordeal.  Duke Boy wore a suit and I wore a purple skirt, jacket ,and lovely silk blouse. Boys from the Valley were our ushers. My little niece walked the aisle ahead of me.  Our parents stood up with us.  Both of these were last minute ideas and worked perfectly. Two preachers and we still forgot the rings.  People were asked to bring a covered dish lunch and they did.  My sister called from south AL a few days before the wedding to find out what the cake was like.  Cake?? She showed up in true southern style with a sheet cake from the IGA that said "Karen & Donnie". I'm sure she also brought her signature dish-- pear salad, you know, the individual ones with the cherry on top of the mayo.

Fast forward to today. Duke Boy is still sleeping upstairs with little BW.  If the weather cooperates we may go out tonight. We already celebrated Saturday at Mama Lucia's in Newnan.  Our life is a good one.  He cooks, I don't clean.  I pay the bills, do the laundry, decorate, send cards, buy gifts, and remind him to change the oil in his car.  He digs the holes for my flowers and does the yard work.  I do the yard play.
Most days it all works and on the days when it doesn't then we have to work it out.

Happy Anniversary Duke Boy.  This IS your card.  Love you.

                                                     Last years' card but we look the same.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twelve years of Valley Christmases

Since I'm married to a United Methodist minister we don't always get to stay in one spot for several years.  I'm fortunate that we own our home and when my husband changed churches six years ago we didn't have to change homes.  I'm sharing my article today that is published in our local paper ,
The Valley Times-New  West Point Times-News.
Merry Christmas, peace and joy to all .

On my twelfth year of Christmases in the Valley, my truly loving son-in-law gave to me a cold night in a lawn chair watching the Christmas parade from the back of his pickup truck.   Ok, so this version will never be the hit song that I sang from the cold bench seat on the Jolly Trolley at Callaway Gardens while enjoying the Christmas lights.  I do have lots to sing about though when I think of my twelfth Christmas in the Valley.  My favorite float in the parade was the Hairspray folks with their silly roller hats on.  Perhaps because I’m from the era of sleeping with one orange juice can pinned to the top of my head at night so my long brown hair would be straight when I went to high school.  I’m sorry the “sticky uppy” look wasn’t popular then …I might have been on time for school and been more rested due to less trouble sleeping with that thing on my head. 
 My home was joyful last week as we shared lunch with the Pastoral Institute Valley Advisory Board and celebrated their first year of success. They exceeded our fund raising goal for 2012.  Greetings were extended by 437 Santas and 45 Jesus Babies, and a very happy dog.  She likes to function as our vacuum cleaner after we entertain.     
Another high note, remember the musical theme, are the lights from the city of Valley, Lanett ,and West Point that never cease to make me smile as I make my way home from work at night.  The West Point Depot trees are another wonderful addition to the merriment this year.  I also smile when I view the restored camel, donkey, and wise men in the Nativity scene across from Valley Baptist Church.  I met the camel and donkey up close and personal in my neighbor’s yard when they rested after their restoration work journey.  Of course, they aren’t unaccustomed to travel since they’ve survived years of bad weather and floods in their Valley location. 
I haven’t ridden the Merry-go-round yet.  Last year it provided merriment for one 9 year old family skeptic who thought it was “for babies”.  The fried Snickers’ bar convinced the Grinch in him to smile and ask to ride again.  Santa was his happy, jolly self at the Shawmut UMC Breakfast.  I hope he remembers that trip to Paris this year. I know the ticket will be in my stocking soon.  Santa got some help from the Christian Service Center again this year with our church participating in helping provide Christmas gifts to three families.  My family had lots of fun shopping for clothes and toys for children to be with surprised with on Christmas morning.  
 Shawmut UMC church had the children/youth remind us in their Christmas program that some people have difficulty finding joy at Christmas.  We all know that this is the case in Sandy Hook, Connecticut this holiday season.  My heart goes out to all those who feel robbed of their joy.  Pray for the love of God to surround them, and for the community to lift them up.  I pray that your joy is apparent to you and to the world as you move through this season of Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love as we have during Advent at Shawmut United Methodist Church.  You are all invited to communion  on Christmas Eve at 5:30 ET.  Merry Christmas to all of you.  Thanks for all the encouragement you give me for writing when you see me in the community.  This is truly a wonderful Valley to dwell in.
Karen Erwin-Brown is the director of the Valley office of the Pastoral Institute.  She provides individual, marriage, and family counseling.  Call 334-768-2341 for more information or to schedule an appointment. 
Hedgie girl and her favorite momma at Callaway Gardens Festival of Lights
notice my Bama ear muffs

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Praying for peace

Find a church today to gather with those you love. Little Emilie's Dad from the Connecticut tragedy reminds us not to give into our feelings of hate that can come from this event.  You can chose to look for the opportunity to be more loving and giving instead of more isolated and scared. 

We all want answers. God is present even when we feel that He doesn't see us.  Answers??  Solutions to the continuing questions of mental health care funding, gun accessibility,  and securing facilities. 

Pray for all the children returning to school tomorrow and going out into the world today.  Give them courage, compassion, and vigilance. Make sure they have a plan and know who to call if there is an emergency. Pray for teachers who have the often under appreciated job of being surrogate parents for eight hours daily.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Prayers to Connecticut

You have another opportunity today ... be the person  you want to be to those you love.

  The sad events yesterday in Connecticut remind us all how our lives can change in an instant.  Yesterday I spent the day in the bed because I was sick.  When I turned on the TV and heard the news I felt worse.  I made myself not overload my already sick body with all that horror and spent time sleeping and reading instead of watcing the news. When I called my Mom last night, I encouraged her to turn off the TV and do something else.

Your young children don't understand that the ever repeating news isn't happening over and over again.

Today I plan to turn off the TV and do something else.  Pray for the victims, those dead and alive.

If you live near the Valley come and ride the free Merry-go-round, view the Nativity scene, enjoy the Christmas lights down JL King Drive in Shawmut.  Hug your little ones.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Spirit, where?

Welcome to those of you from Saudi Arab.  I think you are a newbie to the rumpus here.  I'm taking a moment for the "the pause" as explained so beautifully by .  I wish I was smarter about making all this stuff work and I'd put her button here.  Of course, then I wouldn't have time for a "pause".  The house was quiet for a minute.  Now I hear Duke Boy stirring...better than a mouse. 

I'm having my board for the Pastoral Institute, Valley to my home for lunch today. Duke Boy is the chef so I know food will be wonderful.   Table is lovely.  Set by my favorite hostess, me!  Now all I need is the sweet hardworking folks who helped make this year easier by giving of themselves when asked . 

Pause today and look  for Christmas spirit.  The kind that doesn't come in a box. 

Got to sit on Santa's lap on Saturday.  He brought Christmas spirit to many excited children.

great Madonna and child moment
Maw maw and Baby Jake 2012
"The Pause"
Hedgie girl shot

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting Santamantel

I have 439 Santas in my home now.  Well, probably more..those were the ones showing their faces on Sunday plus the two I got from my sister last night.
Christmas is a time to get Santamantel. :)

Tonight is the Christmas parade in the Valley.  This will be my first time to watch it from the bed of a
 pick up. That's a truck for all you city slickers. The Pastoral Instiute has a gorgeous package with a lovely sign on the Chamber float thanks to Brenda Andrews and Hedge Girl.  Keep an eye peeled for all that cuteness.

It's great to live in a spot with so many fun things to experience.  New Horizon Theatre's play is this weekend.  Breakfast with Santa at Shawmut UMC. Graduation at Auburn. Ok, not exactly in my town but my niece is graduating. Congrats Laura. Shopping at Bluffton Street Antiques and Collectibles.  Point University's musical Christmas programs.  Come on over we'd love to have you visit our town--don't forget the Merry-Go-Round, and the Navity Scene in Valley.  Free!

Gotta run get ready for work.  Santa needs help buying presents this year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Where is that Baby?

Welcome to Algeria and Switzerland.  The rumpus is over and my home is decorated.  Hosted a party yesterday.  It's so great that Duke Boy can cook.  He can holler too.   You heard him all the way down the Hooch during the Alabama game yesterday.  Roll Tide. 

Advent .  I love worship during this season.  There are lots of good Advent books out there for devotionals.  Locate one and be still and reflect on why Jesus came as a baby and not as a warrior.  Be vulnerable to where His spirit will lead. Be astonished at what you discover.  Be ready for the messiness that babies can bring.  They aren't always sweet and sleeping. 

Blessing and thankfulness on all the prayers for my friend in Florida.  No tumor on her last MRI.  Great news.  The Baby is out there climbing on our hearts. 

Look at those astonished wise men.  Our family painted this one when Hedgie girl was little.  One of my favs.
Peace for the day.