Monday, December 28, 2009

Scott to Iraq/Afghanistan


Today was the day. It was such an ironic overlay of snowing, blowing weather here this afternoon and overhearing Scott & Sarah discussing whether he had sufficient sunscreen and lip screen packed for the desert weather he will encounter tomorrow. She delivered him to Rickenbacker AFB this afternoon and made it safely back thru the snows in time to tuck everyone in to bed for the night.

Now let the prayers begin in earnest. She will have her hands full to be a 'single-mom' for the next few months, until his return. I was worn out after just spending four hours with our little tribe. We're proud of each of them. Thanks to all for your encouragement & support.
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Neighborhood Sheep




We have lived in our current home for about 5.5 years. We are in a suburb, east of Columbus Ohio, in an area that has taken over farms and little country roads. Our intimate neighborhood is a cul-de-sac off of one of those lovely, winding, rolling country ribbons. For the most part there is just one subdivision entrance after the other -- oh, and several churches, too, dotting along Wagner Road, with the notable exception of one family's operational sheep farm.

For five and a half years I have thought it would be lovely to photograph the sheep across the road from our cul-de-sac. As I have passed it daily I have amused myself with the antics of these creatures -- their comings & goings. You see, my mom has a sheep collection which has been fun to add to over the years for her significant occaisions. Birthdays and Christmas' have yielded antique sheep molds, folk art sheep, sheep jewelry, well, you get the idea. My dad was always something of a 'shepherd' and his congregations were filled with sheep for him to 'tend' thru the active years of his ministry. And so to have a sheep farm in the middle of our suburban sprawl has been a personally soothing sight that welcomes me home.

Driving home the other day from Christmas errands and the shopping for groceries, I was awestruck by the combination of the sheep and the snow covered ground and the red barn and the split rail fence. Just as soon as my groceries were stowed, I put on some heavy boots and grabbed my new striped birthday gloves from Mrs. Snow and walked back to the farm, vowing to finally make good on an intention that I had considered for more than five years.

Keep in mind that I must cross our meandering country road, that now hosts a WHOLE lot of traffic traveling theoretically at 45 mph, without the benefit of any sort of actual berm..... but I traveled the distance safely and was rewarded with these shots. I'm not certain whether it is the actual pictures themselves or the 'accomplishment' of something on my heart's mental 'to-do' list that is the greater sigh. In either case they bring me delight. [The next time I make such an outting I will remember to wear a hat.]
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Festivities Continue





The celebration continues to unfurl. Tonight at my house. Roast, stuffing, taters, croissants, fresh fruit salad..... and cherry cobbler. And there's always room for more presents!! We unwrapped and then we ate..... and then we played and hugged and laughed at one another. The biggest fun was letting all three 'play' on top of the washer and dryer. Forget all of those new toys: let's just sit up there and explore. There's knobs and great sounds when you tap. A whole new play center.

At this point it is now just under 48 hours until Scott deploys. He is headed to the Iraq/Afghanistan arena.... we don't get to know much more than that (as to specifics). Scott is a pilot with the Air Force, Ohio's Air National Guard. His orders are to have him away from his loving family for about 3 months. He flies the HUGE cargo planes and also does refueling, mid-air. We would be very grateful for prayers on behalf of all five of their family. We're very proud of Scott and his contribution..... we're especially proud of Sarah for her contribution as well.
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Christmas Day: Pataskala




What a fun morning. Everyone has their very best dream come true. Cars. Elmo. Babies. Happy, happy. Joy, joy, joy. Happy, happy. Joy, joy, joy. Now let the serious playing begin.
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Shining Lights & Hope

Photobucket

This is my experiment over on Photobucket. Fun. I took the picture this morning in Sarah & Scott's living room, just after all of the packages had been unwrapped and the playing with the new toys was underway.

How's this for me experimenting with technology? I took the picture on my digital camera and downloaded it in Picasa. Then I saved it to my laptop into a working folder. Followed by uploading it over to Photobucket. Then played with their editing functions: added a border, added the text, and then resized it. Then they/Photobucket have a 'share' button that sends it straight to your blog. Voila!! There it is. The most amazing thing is that I was able to create this process on my own, without supervision or support. Did I mention that it was fun??

Excitement of the Season




It takes two Santas to keep up with one music lady. Teeheeheehee. I thought you might appreciate seeing the Santa snuggles, too. Can't wait till next year.
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Ho Ho Ho Ho!!




There's not much that's better than combining a day of Santa & the "music lady" together. We've been doing this for well over a decade and we think it works really well. The children are familiar with me and our routines for singing together. Santa can be intimidating to preschool children -- those with or without special needs can easily be overwhelmed by all that red. So we combine the two of us together. I get in the room first and almost immediately Santa joins us. So as I am leading our familiar warm-up songs he is joining along. Next up we jingle the bells and then follow that up with a reindeer puppet show for Santa.... all the while getting more accustomed to the jolly one. Then before you know it, it's time for the presents!! (We travel from room-to-room and had 8 programs over the course of the day. Whew. Even fun can wear out a grandma.)
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A BLUE Christmas Service


What a blessing. What thoughtfulness. What consideration.
Tonight our church hosted it's first ever "Blue Christmas" service.
It was soft.
It was deep.
It was compelling.
The chancel was darkened except for blue lights illuminating the altar and numerous simple white candles twinkling.
The music was presented by a trio, accompanied by piano and acoustic guitar.
It was quiet.
It was moving.
It was healing.
The poinsettia tree was already in it's place of honor, but the focus was much more subdued and it literally stood in the shadows.
The readings selected spoke of 'seasons: a time to weep' and 'deep speaking unto deep.'
It was a blue service. For those grieving, for those in the midst of loss. For those having a difficult time embracing the traditional ebullience of a hyper-over-produced Christmas, which can be a criticism for even the church.
It was a blue service. For the lonely. For the broken. For the forgotten. For the exhausted. For the searching. For the despondent.
The pastor spoke of the strength and value of tears -- especially during this season. He addressed loss. He spoke of 'missing gifts' when a loved one is no longer in our midst. He preached about being brought to your knees with questions and searching hearts..... how such times may be when we are most seeking answers and ready & available to listen.
He spoke of consolation.
He spoke of lighting your candle against the darkness.
He spoke of yearning.
He spoke of sorrow.
He spoke of heart break.
It was tranquil.
It was serene.
It was peaceful.
It was very possibly one of the most meaningful worship services I have ever attended. I sat there thinking what a gift for our congregation, for our community. I sat there with tears streaming down my face for most of the service. Gentle tears of acceptance. Gentle tears of peace.
It was gentle.
It was at the same time hopeful.
It was powerful.
Strength from weakness.
As we walked across the dark parking lot on our way to the car, I was thinking how I could possibly convey the simplicity, the majesty and the ringing truth.
This season is so hard, for so many.
I wished that every congregation would host such a service. A 'blue' Christmas. I was thinking of a picture to post here, on this thread. A single candle?
Just as I was considering the options I saw the license plate on the car parked next to ours.
SRVIVOR.
I pray that you will embrace your survivor-hood status and that the season at hand brings answers as you seek -- sometimes on your knees, sometimes while sobbing, that you are loved with a depth beyond your understanding. I pray that you know that you are never alone. I pray that our community offers you strength. I pray that this season offers you a moment of reflection. I pray this season brings you hope -- even in the broken-ness which is ours.
xx00xx00xx00xx
Strength and courage.
Strength and courage.
Strength and courage.
Thank you divine angels for leading a worship committee to have the insight to create an entire service of dignity and quiet for us to collectively mourn our losses. May you bring comfort and consolation to those who are in need here in our community. May we raise one another up, by sharing our losses, our sorrow, our weariness..... dividing it by our sharing it. May you shower us with the gentle healing of our acknowledging our blueness and may that healing give You glory.
xx00xx00xx00xx

Strength and courage.
Strength and courage.
Strength and courage.
[I wrote this 'post' for a thread over @ BCO entitled, "WOMEN OF FAITH" on the Stage IV forum.]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Participant-of-the-Year!!

I've never counted up how many workshops I present in a year. I wonder how many I've presented in this calendar year of 2009? Then do the math with that unknown number and multiply it by the number of teachers and librarians attending the presentations. X times Y = Z. You'll just have to trust me that it would be a VERY big number. (Editor's note: Maybe I'll keep track in 2010.)

Well, then you have to take great big number, Z, and multiply it by 11 years worth of participants (the number of years since the release of my CD, "Debbie's Ditties 2 Much Fun") and you come up with SERIOUSLY big number XYZ!!! What you have with that SERIOUSLY big number is the grand total of participants that have seen me perform/present my original dittie, "Lion Prowl" complete with my thrift-store-tutu-lion's-mane, over the course of it's existence.

In all that time, with all those enthusiastic participants, it took this long to have Kim respond as captured above, with her own original 'mane-interpretation' utilizing her multi-textured brown scarf. Thank goodness my camera had both sufficient memory and battery power..... and I was able to dash safely across the fellowship hall to capture this rare moment. [How I wish that I'd have thought to have the two of us in the same picture. Arrrggggh. Hindsight.] Kim, you really filled my bucket with your instantaneous response. I tell you the day was one of excellence from beginning to end. PRICELESS.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Head Start: Harcatus





Let me begin by pointing out that I get invited to some pretty amazing places. I get to see some state-of- the-art programs, and meet some truly incredible teachers. It takes a lot to impress me these days..... thirteen and a half years of greatness makes quite an impression.

Walking into the fellowship hall last Friday, in Denison Ohio, was seriously impressive. The site itself took my breath away. In fact, the day was one of excellence from beginning to end....... before the participants arrived the tables were already covered in spirited table clothes and every spot was marked with a gift bag of goodies. (I learned at noon that a local restaurant had donated an appetizer certificate for everyone on the staff, to the tune of $700 and that was just the beginning.) When the participants arrived they were greeted by one of the most delicious breakfast meals possible -- including piping hot cinnamon rolls and the juiciest of fresh pineapple and those are just the highlights I remember. As an ice-breaker, each person in attendance was assigned the task of locating the recipient of a hand painted and personalized ornament. There were door prizes AND gift certificates donated from through out the community. After all of the ornaments were exchanged it was my turn t0 get underway. I have to say that the reception I was given was stellar, beyond compare. I suppose when you're surrounded by excellence you exude excellence. What an amazing way to start the day.
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Few of my Faces




Which is more fun? The kids watching my expressions or my watching their's?? It's a good interaction. We seem to entertain each other well. They light up my eyes and I enjoy lighting up their smiles. We work well together, if I do say so myself!
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