Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mary Had a Little Lamb

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Mary Had a Little Lamb so that we could be white as snow!



We are in Charleston SC tonight on our way to Florida for the holidays. I don't know how much internet access I will have, sooooo . . .
Merrry Christmas, everybody!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Washington Crosses the Delaware

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This looked like it would be a fun puzzle even though it's not something Christmasy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like . . .

Well, You know what!
It took 3 days, but the tree is finally finished! And just look at those adorable babies hanging in the branches:
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The Tree-Trimmers:




Andrey gets into the spirit decorating a cracker "gingerbread" house for the first time.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Decorating for Christmas

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One would think that we would have finished up our decorating outside last week while it was sunny and 70, but no. There had to be a "chain-saw massacre" before the lights could be hung, which required the presence and services of Dr. Jekyll (oops! I mean Dr. David) and he wasn't available until today when it was 34 degrees and starting to rain. He actually did a respectable job (under my vigilent eye) of subduing the shrubbery in the front yard for adornment with lights, but then he set his evil eye on my mimosa tree in the back yard. "I'm only going to trim the branches that are growing over the roof . . ." Since I was adorning the shorn shrubs out front, needless to say, he succumbed to his evil tree-slaughtering ways, and now I have a Mimosa stump in my back yard. But the front yard looks really great! I will take pictures when it stops raining.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Glow

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We're all busy bringing the ancestral manse into Holiday compliance. The lights are on the tree now!

Another "Life is Good" Moment

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Tonight was the best meteor shower of 2007 according to a report I saw earlier this week on Fox News. I could hardly contain myself when I went out about 7pm and saw that the sky had cleared up. After putting Agape to bed, I called my friend, Barbara, and we bundled up and rode out to the Parkway for the vigil, and we were NOT disappointed this time. Mild temperatures, a perfect viewing spot with a 360 degree big view of the sky, a little raspberry wine, a fat slice of the amazing caramel apple, the love of my life (who is a really good sport!) and a great, game friend all added up to one of those "Life is Good" moments!! Even though I wasn't lucky enough to have the camera on and pointed in the right direction to capture some of the more dramatic meteors, I think we still have some of the most beautiful night-sky viewing of all.


I hope that you can see all the stars on your monitors!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cheery Snowmen

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It's been 70 degrees here the last two days, but what the hey! Let it snow!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Fun

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Here's the slideshow of our fun night in Winston-Salem last week with just a few program notes: All of the pictures of the Festival of Lights were taken by JengYang and Andrey from the moving vehicle, so some of the images are a little blurry. I was the designated driver, of course! There are only a few shots of the first scene from The Nutcracker because the lady beside me leaned in and asked me in her most annoyed voice, "Are you going to be taking pictures the entire time?" Dang that loud shutter!
Show me some "Christmas Fun in Winston-Salem".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How to Make a Mama Proud

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How do you make this mama proud??? Just add handbells! Agape and her friends were all smiles tonight as they presented the music they have have been working on the last month.





Monday, December 10, 2007

Agape and Edo Art

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Agape exploring her cultural side at the Japanese Edo Art exhibit in Washington, DC. My self-assignment that day was to explore the possibilities with my "Lens Baby."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Tree Hunting

Season\'s Greeting Jigsaw PuzzleSeason\'s Greeting Jigsaw Puzzle

One more sacred Christmas mission accomplished today: hunting, bagging, and bringing home the Christmas tree! hmmmm . . . I wonder when it will finally be installed in its hallowed spot in front of the window?







It's Sooooo cool to live in the land of Christmas Tree farms!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Jangled, Jingle Bells

I now have a new definition of terror: Sight-reading somebody else's part on Greensleeves in a concert with NO rehearsal!!

Tonight's puzzle picture was taken by either Andrey or Jengyang last night at the Festival of Lights. I was the designated driver.
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I have just one little Festival of Lights story to share:
Years ago, I took my friend, Becky, and her 3 (then) small children down to see the lights in one of our more risky automobiles. This one required regular feedings of oil. As we were leaving the park, the oil light came on, so I dutifully stopped, popped open the hood and a can of oil, and started pouring it into the engine. Unbeknownst to me, behind the raised hood, one of the little boys climbed out of his car seat into the driver's seat and laid on the horn, which of course, made me about jump out of my skin, and consequently; douse the engine compartment with oil. We had only driven a few minutes when great clouds of black smoke began billowing out of the engine compartment. I quickly brought the car to halt, jumped out, and opened the hood to see flames erupt!!! I suppose I should have been in "rescue and run mode," but instead, I was in McPherson "invincible mode," so I grabbed a coat or baby blanket (the exact snuffing implement escapes my dim memory now) and beat the flames out. Mission accomplished, we drove back home without any further complications other than the stench.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Traditions of Christmas

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Tonight was a great evening spent introducing Andrey and Jenyang to some of our family's Christmas traditions. We went to see the Festival of Lights at Tanglewood Park, then we attended the REAL Nutcracker in Winston-Salem, and topped the evening off with a visit to Krispie Kreme. Did you know that Winston-Salem is the location of the very first Krispie Kreme store? Of course, they LOVED the HOT NOW KK's! Andrey was hoping that there was a store like that in Galax.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the Bell Ringer's Lament

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Two concerts down; two to go. Ahhh . . . more opportunities for improvement and/or to redeem myself. Well, tonight was better than Sunday, but honestly, where does that music go that I have so faithfully saved to the hard drive in my head?!?!?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Headlong into the Holidays

Here is a glimpse into what my life is like right now (and why I have been too tired or distracted to blog!) The following is lifted from a letter sent to my daughter in Germany:

All 3 of my handbell groups played this past Sunday morning magnificently. The group at Hillsville has 3 rank beginners in it; one of them is just learning to read music as we go, so I am certainly proud of them. My beginner bells played "Away in a Manger." Two 6 year olds from my baby bell group joined them for the first time in a performance and did really well. And the JoyBell Ringers just astounded everybody with their ripping rendition of "Sing We Now of Christmas." They have been playing that for a year, and really "own" the piece now.

It was a busy weekend for me. I had rehearsal Saturday morning with the Hillsville folks, then Daddy and I went up to Floyd to meet Ken and Kay at a craft festival, then we had to be back in Hillsville by 4 to see Agape walk in the Christmas parade with her Special Olympics team. Then there was a reception at church that evening to meet the "Intentional Interim" pastor. After that, I came home and prepared beef stew, salad, and homemade bread for Rejoice to have at our marathon rehearsal and performance last night. I had to be in Hillsville by 7:45am Sunday morning for the groups to play there at 8:30 (both FUMC and the Joybells), then quickly pack up, move everything to FBC, and be ready to play for the 11:00 service there. A quick birthday party for one of my ringers, then on to Winston. I wish that I could say that I (and Rejoice) played as well as my groups, but that was not the case. Oh well, there are 3 more opportunities this week to redeem ourselves.

Thursday night will be the annual pilgrimage to "The Nutcracker." Andrey and JengYung (the Jordan's exchange student") are going with us. So that will be 5 trips to Winston in one week; 6 if we decide to go to the Rice's Christmas party on Sat. Night. Now if I could just kick myself into gear and decorate, and Christmas shop, and write a Christmas letter. Tomorrow is the toffee-making day.

Now, let me see what I can find for a puzzle tonight . . .
Ahhh . . .Bells!! (since that is what my life is about this week.)
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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Riding the Rails

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Agape is the "Queen of Public Transportation." So, any trip to Washington DC mandates a ride on the Metro.

Friday, November 30, 2007

What are YOU Thankful For?

Thanksgiving Jigsaw PuzzleThanksgiving Jigsaw Puzzle
OK. So What if it is a week later??? I hope you each hold something dear to your hearts with undying gratitude.

So, here's my short list:
  • My family. What a blessing it is to have a husband who adores me (love is blind!) and grown children that still willingly and affectionately call me mom.
  • My extraordinary good health . . . in spite of the little annoyances.
  • My JoyBell Ringers. In fact, all of those sweet, eager, little faces that call me "Miss Charlotte." Today Rachel brought a loaf of bread that she made for me. As I left rehearsal today, they called out, "Bye, Miss Charlotte, I love you." Love you, too.
  • Debbie Rice and the Rejoice Ringers. I thank my lucky stars that I get to be part of such a dedicated, professional ensemble and sit at the feet (so to speak) of one of the few, truly great masters of the art of handbell ringing every week.
  • The bottomless well of inspiration, information, and encouragement for my little photography business that I have through the Pictage community.
  • That God looked past my sins and filthy rags to extend to even me, the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Of course, there is so much more, but as I said, this is my short list!

Here's a little glimpse of the McPherson Thanksgiving celebration:







Your Turn. Write a comment and tell me what you are thankful for!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The MOM Overture

Here is something just for all the moms out there, or anybody who has a mother, or anybody else who has ever said or heard the words, "Because I said so!"

I spent a sweet couple of hours today with my firstborn before she crosses back over the big pond. She flew from the nest at age 15 (school at the NC School of the Arts) which means she got short-changed hearing these life-changing words of wisdom for only half of her life. The ones I hope she remembers the mosts are "I Love You." "I'm the MOM!"
Pictures at an Exhibition Jigsaw PuzzlePictures at an Exhibition Jigsaw Puzzle

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Noyes Drive

The Red Carpet Jigsaw PuzzleThe Red Carpet Jigsaw Puzzle

This is Thanksgiving day on Uncle Jimmy's street in Silver Spring Maryland. These pictures were snapped in a flurry (a passing cold front had stirred up quite a stiff wind) during a brief escape from the feast preparations. We were just stunned by how much color was there when we arrived there. Their fall was so much more impressive than ours this year! Click here to see the last days of fall go out in a blaze of glory! Last Day of Fall on Uncle Jimmy's Street

Monday, November 26, 2007