Friday, December 30, 2011

2011-It Was The Best of Times...It Was The Worst of Times

2011. What a year that was. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was probably the most difficult year that I can ever remember for us.

Every year on New Year's Eve, I always wonder what the new year is going to hold. What kinds of twists and turns will life take during the next 12 months? And every year there are joys and sorrows, celebrations and disappointments, ups and downs. But 2011 was just especially hard. Steve and I both had really difficult and stressful job situations and then we lost Steve's dad so suddenly. We were walking through a pretty dark valley for a while there. But...we also had the joy of welcoming our first grandchild and that has brought us so much happiness this year! If I could choose one phrase to sum up 2011, it would be "roller-coaster ride"!

So...needless to say, we are making a BIG toast to 2012 and are happy to be kissing 2011 good-bye!

Over the past few weeks and months, God has given both of us new career opportunities that we are loving and are excited about. And we made it through our first holiday season without Grandaddy and even though we missed him, it was still a happy and joyful time. I can see some sunshine breaking through the clouds and I know 2012 is going to be a great year! Bring it ON!!

As each New Year's Day approaches, I like to look back on the year gone by and remember all the highs and lows and important events that happened. A few years ago, I found these questions on someone's blog and I have been using them ever since. is my 2011 in review!

1-What did you do in 2011 that you've never done before?
Well, let's see. I slept in an RV for the first time, visited the Georgia Aquarium, felt an earthquake, celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, and discovered Pinterest. I had never done any of those things before!

2-Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! Ashley had our first precious grandbaby, David Walker Scott, on February 22! One of the best days ever.

3-Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. We were so sad to say goodbye for a little while to Steve's dad. He died on March 30. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on February 4, so he did not live long after that. We miss him very much.

We also lost Steve's beautiful cousin, Cynthia, who died suddenly while she was on vacation in New York.

It has been such a sad time for his family.

4-What date from 2011 will remain etched in your memory and why?
The two dates I just mentioned...February 22 and March 30... for obvious reasons.

5-What was your biggest acheivement this year?

My biggest achievement this year was getting a new job that I love! I am so thankful that God led me to the job I have now. It has made my life so much happier and so much less stressful.

6-Did you suffer any illness or injury?
Thankfully, no. Other than just little colds and things like that, I have been very healthy.

7-What was the best thing you bought?
Definitely my iPhone4! I love it and use it every day!

8-Where did most of your money go?
The same place it's gone for the past 7 and food! :)

9-What song will always remind you of 2011?
I don't think I could pick just one! Here are a few...
Someone Like You/Rolling In The Deep-Adele, Makes Me Wanna Take A Back Road-Rodney Atkins, Barefoot Bluejean Night-Jake Owen, Just A Kiss-Lady Antebellum, Give Me Your Eyes-Brandon Heath, I Love The Way You Hold Me-Jamie Grace (I love this one because it reminds me of my class at school. They LOVE this song! It is such a "feel good" song!)

10-What do you wish you'd done more of/less of?
I wish I had blogged more. I was a slacker this year and I'm sad about that because I want to remember the details of every day. I wish I would have had more time last year to do that. In 2012 I also want to pray more/worry less, facebook/twitter (live electronically) less and spend more time with people face to face. I want to remember to reach out beyond my own little world and touch lives that are hurting. I want to give generously and hug on my children and husband and grandbaby as much as I can. I want to expect less and enjoy life more.

11-What was your favorite TV program?
Probably Hoda and Kathie Lee.

I TiVo that and watch it just about every day. I really don't watch too much TV, though. Other than that, we watch the news every night and we also love The Amazing Race.

12-What's the best book you read this year?
Unfortunately I didn't get to read very much. But I really liked The Friday Night Knitting Club...

and I started The Dirty Life and liked it, too. It kind of reminds me of Pioneer Woman's story. I need to finish it!

13-What was your favorite movie this year?
Definitely The Help. But I also really liked Limitless and The Lincoln Lawyer. We saw both of those on Red Box.

14-What did you do on your birthday? How old were you?

Well, I know I turned 47 and I'm sure Steve did something really sweet for me. But I didn't blog about it and April was such a crazy month for us since Steve's dad had just passed away that I honestly don't remember a THING about my birthday! Wow. I definitely need to start blogging regularly again!!

15-Did you travel anywhere this year?
Yes. We went on a few fun trips this year. For Spring Break Steve and I went to Clearwater Beach, Florida.

We also went to Destin, Florida with Steve's family over the summer.

We went to Atlanta and Mississippi to visit family. And my girls and I went to New York City for fall break.

16-What national/world event stirred you the most?
My favorite story of the year was the Royal Wedding. I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married when I was in high school so it was fun seeing Prince William and Kate get married. She was a gorgeous bride I thought!

I think the death of Osama Bin Laden was another news event I will never forget. We have been trying for so long to get him and I hope his death will bring more peace to our world.

17-Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
I think this year I have learned that God is good all the time. Even when I am walking through the darkest valley, He is there with me. He loves me and will walk through it with me. And He will give me comfort and peace. And no matter what happens in my life, I choose to praise Him. He has been so good to me.

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Be

Aren't the days after Christmas the best? I think they are almost as good as the days before Christmas in a different sort of way! It just feels so great to have all the "to-do" lists done and all the activity dies down and you can really relax! Whew! Anyway...we've all really enjoyed just being at home and being lazy and not having anything to do.

One of the things we've been doing alot of is watching movies. Laura and Lindy and I went to see War Horse the other day. We saw it on Broadway back in October and loved it and we loved the movie too.

I have gotten to see this sweet boy alot this week. Is he not the cutest thing?? Ashley brought him over in one of the outfits he got for Christmas and I had to get his picture since he looked so cute!

Yesterday I had some of the little girls from my class last year over to make cookies. I had promised them I would have them over and they didn't let me forget about it! We had lots of fun together. They are so well-mannered and excited and appreciative of everything. I love them!

Tonight we are watching Baylor play in the Alamo Bowl. My brother and I both went to Baylor and so did my parents and my sister-in-law. We are all so excited about the awesome year they are having!

Tomorrow is "Take Down The Tree" day. I am not looking forward to that. But I know I will love having the house all clean and clutter-free. I can't believe 2011 is almost over. I have to say I am not too sad to see it go. I will write more about that tomorrow.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

We had the best Christmas. I don't know how it happened this year, but other than the week and a half of non-stop events, our Christmas was very relaxed. We all agreed that it seemed low-key and really enjoyable. So yay for that!

One thing I did differently this year was to wrap most of our presents early so that I wasn't stuck in a room wrapping all day on Christmas Eve. Plus we scaled back our budget so there wasn't as much shopping to do. And Laura and Lindy were pretty much my personal little elves this year and helped me do so much! How would I do it without them?

On Christmas Eve we went to an afternoon service at church. Normally David goes to the nursery, but Ashley brought him into church this time and he did so good!

After church, we always go over to Steve's sister Debbie's house for soup and chili. She is sweet to host us every year. We had fun visiting with Steve's family and eating some good food!

We didn't stay too long this year, though, since they were going to another service after dinner. We all came home and got in our pajamas and watched some Christmas movies until Santa came. Santa went to bed early this year and got a good night's sleep! (That's the fun of having college age kids, right? Nobody's fighting sleep or getting up at the crack of dawn!)

On Christmas morning, we just took our time opening presents and eating breakfast. I always make a sausage, egg, and cheese casserole that my kids love with some fruit and other breakfast goodies.

Usually my parents come over and join us, but since it was Sunday morning, my dad had to preach, so they came over around 1:00 along with my brother and his family.

John, Ashley, and David came over later in the afternoon so we could spoil David rotten with toys. It was so much fun this year getting to buy toys and fun stuff instead of just clothes. That seems like all we've been buying for the last few years or so. That and money are all my kids want any more. :)

In between all this, we got to take naps and read and just relax!

Christmas night we went over to Steve's mom's house and had another round of food and fun. She made all kinds of yummy stuff and I brought my strawberry pretzel salad.

Bless David's heart. By the time we got over there, he had been up all day & he was ready for bed! But he did stay up long enough to open some presents and say hi to everyone.

The rest of us had a fun night just hanging out and visiting together. We love our family!

Christmas is always so much fun, but I have to say I almost love the day or two after Christmas just as much. Sleeping in and sitting around in pajamas almost all day has been so nice. We are so blessed.

I hope your Christmas was wonderful too!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's December...Party On!

I can't keep up. Everything has been moving so fast these past few weeks that there is no way I could blog about it all as it happened. I'm sure you feel the same way. This is such a fun and busy time of year. The events and parties are one after the other. So today I'm just going to have to do a quick catch-up.

Let's see...where to begin?? Let me backtrack all the way back to last Sunday. That was our Sunday School Class Christmas party. We have recently stepped down from our role as co-teachers in that class. We have been with them for six years and have loved sharing life with them and watching all the couples in the class go from newlyweds to having families of their own. So it was a little bittersweet knowing this would be our last Christmas party with them. But I know we will still keep in touch and see them around church.

Last week we also celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary! I feel so blessed to have such wonderful parents. They have set an example for us and for our children of what a godly marriage looks like. They have weathered lots of trials just like every marriage does, but they are still in love and they still are each other's best friend. They just have fun together and are still enjoying life side by side. I am so thankful God has blessed them with 50 wonderful years together.

They didn't want a big party, so we just took them out for a family dinner. Then we are sending them on a trip to Europe this spring. They like to travel so I know they will really enjoy that!

Over the weekend we went to the mountains for our annual get-together with our neighbors. We call it Chili and Cheer. Usually we just get together at one of our houses, but this year we went to our neighbors' mountain house to celebrate. Our kids have grown up together and they love each other like brothers and sisters so they always look forward to it. We ate at our favorite restaurants-The Daniel Boone Inn and Mellow Mushroom. Saturday morning when we woke up, it was snowing! So pretty! We shopped and went for walks. We played games and worked puzzles and played pool and ping-pong. We got in the hot tub. And mostly we just hung out together and enjoyed talking and laughing and spending time with people we love.

When we got back it was time to get together with my family. My brother, Blake, and his wife Angie had us over for our favorite....Mexican food! So we called it our Family Fiesta. :) We had such a good time just visiting and sitting around the fire pit and laughing together. We love our family and we always look forward to getting all the kids together and spending time together during the holidays!

In between all this we also threw in two other with Steve's company and one with lifelong friends of ours that we get together with every Christmas. And I had a gingerbread house party at school along with our class Christmas party.

I think we are all done with all our events now. Whew!! Mark's girlfriend, Kate, is here for a few days to visit and we had a big family dinner at our house last night then they all went over to Steve's mom's house to play cards. But the next few days are pretty low key. I think I see some Christmas movies and lots of relaxation in my future!