Monday, December 29, 2008

The Thompson Family Christmas

Do you think the crew at Red Lobster freaked out when 21 of the Thompson clan walked in for a Christmas meal? Ahhhhhh....maybe next year we should call ahead! The two waiters we had did an excellent job & the manager seemed happy that we were there. No doubt!
Bob and his Dad...
looking more alike everyday! Mom & Vickie
The Best's & Little Miss Sunshine!
...not sure what was up with Paige's frowny face :( The far end of our table...
Paige, Steve, Jason, Kevin & Kevin Meredith
good grief...my hair looks florescent yellow!
Karen had to work that day but got off in time to join us
Parker, Carter (swigging down a Root Beer!)
& Jeff

Brycen & April... Somehow Jeff & April always seem to get "stuck"

at the kids table. Carter had a ball keeping Peyton laughing!

Amelia & Rebekah...Amelia is diabetic & it broke our hearts when she had to get her insulin shot after her meal. But she is a trooper about it!

I do have one picture of Jonathan....but Karen is in it & she made me promise not to post it! (It was a close up...)

We chose the night it decided to drop to about 4 degrees & we about froze in the parking lot!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wanna buy a slightly used worthless tree?

My new...just this year...first time decorated tree---

I've been too exhausted to even think about posting the happenings of our Christmas Day. But it was a good one! Of course we all bought too much, spent too much time shopping & stressing ourselves out, but just watching the children open their gifts, made it worth the effort! We found out it doesn't take expensive gifts to please them.
We finally remembered to do a family group photo
before the chaos of gift opening began.
Thanks, Photographer Steve!
I've actually begun the dreaded task of taking down all of the decorations. When I turned the Christmas tree lights on this morning, much to my dismay, my brand new tree had a burned out section of lights smack dab in the middle of it. I had notice a guarantee on the box, so tore into the task of un-decorating (remind me why I love to collect all of those ornaments!) as Bob volunteered to return the tree to M- - - - - - ...that big store at the bottom of our hill! Well, it seems that they don't accept "used" items for returns, even though the box plainly states "a two year warranty"...so now we have to deal with the manufacturer. Wanna take any bets that I don't get another tree?

Just where did we loose control???

We USED to take turns opening each gift...

but somewhere this year that tradition flew out the window!

I'm just glad the pre-lite tree cooperated enough to stay lighted until AFTER Christmas. If the company refuses to replace my beautiful tree, I'm going to yank every string of lights off of it and then I'll have a naked one! Anybody want to come help???



More pics of the kids to follow...maybe, one of these days!




Uncle Steve...our handy dandy picture taking man!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joy!



Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of this busy Season, I've let the Joy of Christmas grow dim. Everyday things have crowded into my life & I've just gotten too busy!


It is now Christmas Eve, the shopping is finished, gifts are tucked under the tree, and a few more chores need to be tended to. But for now I think I need to put all of that aside & restore the Joy to this Blessed Season.

Since Karen & Jeff have been married, they have celebrated their "in-law" Christmas with that part of their family on Christmas Eve. It has become a day that I use to wind down & get ready for the big sha-bang on Christmas Day. Weather permitting, we have gone out for dinner that evening...IF we can find an open restaurant!...and then ride around & look at Christmas lights. It has become a quiet tradition that we enjoy.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with your families!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Past...in Indiana

Christmas 1974
Karen...9 months old!
in her new white coat & hat that Grandma Brown made
with Grandma & Grandpa Brown...
I had to look back to make sure Karen was only 9 months old in these pictures!
It seemed like she grew up so quickly!
She was a long legged baby girl!!! with her Aunt Carol who was 9 years old & they are in matching outfits!
Karen & our beautiful white tree!
The branches really did look like scrub brushes...
our little Wise Man...Jeff!
I think they got to open one gift after their Sunday School Program
(a tradition Karen has carried on with her kids)
Jeff at 13 months
I remember Jeff "dancing to the music" on this little car
as our stereo played the Gaither Trio singing
"Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy"
and the traditional Thompson Christmas photo with Grandma and the Grandkids...Jeff, Jason, Karen & Jennifer

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ten Years in our Lives



I was gone for a while one afternoon this week and when I returned, Steve told me he had sad news. Susan had called, and Stephanie was gone...passed away suddenly early Saturday morning. There was a sadness in his voice...for the years gone by, for the trip we didn't make to see her, and I'm sure for the flood of memories of happier times.
The Newlyweds....Stephanie & Steve


Steve was married to Stephanie for 10 years. You can't have someone like Steph walk into your life and be there for that long, without the threads of those years intertwining with those memories that will never be forgotten.


It was Christmas, 1976, just a few months after Steve & Stephanie were married, when she brought her three daughters home to Mom & Dad's, & we immediately fell in love with them & embraced them as part of our family. Jeff was only 3 weeks old and I remember Stehanie and the girls taking care of him for me...the girls holding him like he was a little doll baby.
My nieces--Lorinda, Karin Jean, & Susan

Steve & Stephanie lived in Colorado for several years & most holidays both of our families would head to Kansas to celebrate the occasions with Mom & Dad. I'm sure we were a tremendous amount of work for Mom, but she never complained & was always happy to have us there. Stephanie absolutely loved Mom's cooking. I remember her sneaking into the laundry room where Mom kept the stash of cookies,cakes & candy, and Stephanie would have herself a late night snack.
Their "official" wedding photograph....in Colorado

She could be so silly, so much fun...& then her mood would change. She would disappear into her bedroom, sometimes for hours or even the rest of the night, leaving us to wonder what had happened.


We didn't understand Stephanie's problems until much later. You see, she was a troubled woman, suffering from depression, later being diagnosed as "Bipolar". And at that time we didn't understand.
Susan, our Karen, Lorinda & Karin Jean
Steve & Stephanie made a move from Colorado to Ohio for a few months. We thought they would be near enough that we could visit more often. But shortly after Thanksgiving, they moved to California. And in a few years they were unable to continue together so went there separate ways. Steve loved Stephanie & her girls, but he could no longer live with her problems.


Life continued for Steph, her girls grew up, and somehow Susan ended up moving to Nashville, Tennessee, just 4 hours away from us! We always wanted the girls to be part of our family, and many times Susan would come home for Christmas. Eventually, both Karin & Lorinda moved to Nashville & continue to live there.


The time came when because of another physical problem, Stephanie could no longer live alone. Dear, sweet Susan took her in to her own home and devoted herself to taking care of her Mom the last several years. Just a little over 2 weeks ago it was necessary for Stephanie to go to a Nursing Home for around the clock care, the girls thinking they might have her for another 6 months.


But our Heavenly Father had another plan. Susan had planned on leaving this week for Italy for the Christmas holidays and now she won't have to worry about her Mom's care while she is gone. Steph is resting safely in Heaven, and her daughters can have the hope of seeing her again someday. Lorinda, Karin & Jeremiah, & Susan
just after Karen Lynn's wedding
I'm glad we kept in touch down through the years. Until just a few years ago, I would always get a Christmas card from Stephanie. We loved her for who she was, and we loved her daughters as our own nieces, and still do. There were many good times during those ten years, and now we choose to dwell on the happy memories.
Since Steve came here, we have been talking of making a trip to Nashville to see the girls & Stephanie. Now we have delayed the trip & hope to go for a little visit to get reacquainted after the first of the year.
In memory of Marguerite Stephanie...age 64...way too young to have to leave this old world.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Can you say "Aluminum"?

As newlyweds, waaaay back in 1967, we were very excited about getting our very first Christmas tree. We must have been crazy, but we loved the new aluminum Christmas trees, gaudy looking as they were! (What were we thinking?)


It was Halloween--not even November yet!--and we made a trip to "Spartan's", (remember Hills Dept. Store?...like that!) and purchased our hunk of glitter, plus a color wheel to make it sparkle, an assortment of colored ornaments, and headed back to our little apartment.



Have you ever assembled one of those things? There is a center pole full of drilled holes, where each & every shimmery limb had to be placed. Talk about time consuming! But we lovingly put the thing together, adorned it with ornaments, placed the color wheel for the best viewing advantage, and then took a little drive so we could see how it looked from our living room window.



Thankfully, our apartment was in the back of the building, and I think we decided to keep our shades shut for just a few days so our neighbors wouldn't think we had gone completely crazy.
We used the silly tree for several years. I see here where just the following year we only put blue ornaments on it. No doubt we wanted to have a "Blue, Blue Christmas"! Also notice my blow up Santa in both photos. Bob brought Mr. Santa home to me from where he worked at the Sinclair station!


The tree made the trip to Indiana years later, and Bob remembers that we gave it to a man at our church. (Rita....I do believe it was your Dad!)

And then just a few years ago, we got all nostalgic and I found another one in an antique mall and paid an outrageous price for it, plus we had to find another color wheel! We set the thing up and Jeff's first comments were..."it looks like icicles on a stick"!

I don't have time to take each branch out piece by piece this year, so we won't be having our sparkling Christmas tree. It is safely put away where I can't get to it to toss it out. Maybe one day I'll put it together for the grandchildren's amusement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

MAKIN" A LIST...


Guess what I've been doing the last couple of nights! You guessed it...working on my Christmas Card List!

It is an old family joke that you had better watch out and not forget to send me a card...or you just might get scratched off of my list!

I think my dear daughter Karen was about 13 or 14 years old when she found this card for me & gave it to me while I was addressing cards that year! I've kept it in my card album ever since, and believe me, it makes me take a second look about doing name scratching! I seldom take anyone off of my list anymore.After two late nights of writing, I think I've finished & have my cards ready to mail or ready to deliver to the church Christmas box. Thank goodness that chore is over once more!Have you found very many Christmas greetings in your mailbox this year? We were talking about it tonight & I definitely see a decline in the number of cards we are receiving. It may have something to do with the economy, or may be one of those old traditions that is going to fade away.This old album is a history book in itself. I've had it for years...along with the little Mouse card!...and have many lines drawn through names of loved ones who have passed on, some whom we no longer hear from, some divorced, and many changes in addresses.

For now I'm still checkin' my list & mailing out my greetings. It is one of those traditions I don't want to see slip away. I look forward to going to the mailbox & seeing a postmark from a far away friend, knowing what is inside will probably let me know what that family has been up to in the past year.


So I guess I'll keep those "bah-humbugs" to myself for when I really do get to be a grumpy ole grandma!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas 1976

Christmas 1976

Karen almost 3 years!

newborn Jeffry...about 2 weeks old

Jeff was born on November 30th and came home a few days later...in a huge Christmas stocking, which you can see hanging on our mantle in the picture below. The little 6 lb 2 oz red headed baby boy made quite a bundle!This photo is full of a lot of history. I still have the doll cradle which Paige sometimes plays with. The "dip & drape" Santa & Mrs. Claus were made by me during my crafty days! I think their fur became so dingy that I tossed them in the trash. Karen is standing in a blue plastic wagon that she loved to run & jump in. One day she was pushing it & the rope handle tangled around the tires & flipped her over, skinning up her face...& that also was tossed in the trash!

Don't you just love Karen's nice pose?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Past...in Kansas

Many of our Christmas' have been spent in Kansas.
Bob & I lived there until moving to Indiana just after Christmas of 1972.
Our kids loved to go "home" to Grandma & Grandpa Brown's & have many wonderful, fun-filled memories of those long trips. My sister was the perfect aunt for our children, being less than 10 years old when Karen was born.

My little sister, Carol Jean, with her Christmas treasures.

It looks like Santa brought her several dolls that year!

(Notice the lovely styrofoam ball Christmas tree....I surely didn't make that for you did I, Carol???)

Karen Lynn, Lorinda, Karin Jean, Susan & Carol

Christmas, 1976

Our brother brought home 3 little stepdaughters that Christmas,

my first time to meet them. Mom's family grew quickly that year!

Carol, Karen, Jeff...& Dusty!

(all of our dogs were named Dusty... )

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Passing of the Torch...


November 30th brought the final days of 40 years of pastoring at Bethel Holiness Church for my in-laws, Rev. & Mrs. Robert Thompson. He had faithfully lead our congregation, had dedicated the major portion of his life to our fellow church goers, but it was time to move on to another chapter in his life.


Dad Thompson gave his last sermon about passing the torch on to someone younger than him, someone who was also a very Godly man. He had given the best years of his life and had made many forever friends. No doubt it was a hard day for him & the transition will be difficult. But the time had come for change. Mom Thompson's health now requires round the clock attention. Dad had stated from the pulpit that it was his responsibility to care for his loving wife, & to do that, he would not be able to devote his time to the church. Now his days & hours will be centered on Mom. It is difficult to see your parents age. Especially when you see someone who had been so vibrant & full of life. And then the ravages of Alzheimer's steals them away from you, where you can no longer carry on a conversation with them, and even have to struggle to understand when they are trying to tell you something.
No doubt Mom will still think it is her duty to stand at that back door & shake hands with her people as they pass by. I'm sure we will all understand if someday she slips back that way to greet us.



And then yesterday our new Pastor & his family came. And amazingly, his first sermon was titled "Passing the Torch". No doubt God has spoken to both men to let them know the right decisions have been made & all will be well with Bethel.
Our congregation welcomed the Rev. Nathan Shockley family with open arms! We already feel a love springing up in our hearts for them & are looking forward to many years with them leading & guiding us.
As I look back, Mom & Dad Thompson were just about this same age when they moved to Columbus. They had no way of knowing that their remaining years would be spent in this area, making it home for almost all of the Thompson family.
Who knows what the future holds for the Shockley family. Perhaps their years here will stretch out just as long & their family of 4 children will be extended to many more! You never know what 40 years will bring!
Welcome to Bethel, Pastor Shockley & your precious family. We already can feel that Kindred Spirit!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas past...in Missouri

Christmas 1961
And then there are all of those memories of Christmas' past in our little hometown of Hallsville, Missouri.
This particular one was when I was 12 years old & my brother had just turned 10. I thought I was too old to play with dolls, yet still wanted one.
I probably saw her in a Montgomery Wards, Sears Roebuck or Spiegel catalog. Mom did a lot of Christmas shopping from the catalogs as we were 12 miles from Columbia & only shopped there on the weekends. I remember wearing those pages out, looking & looking at what I might want to put on my Christmas list. That particular year my wish happened to be for "Poor Pitiful Pearl"!
I still have her! She came with a raggedy dress along with a party dress. The party dress is long gone, but Pearl still wears her "poor" dress, minus her red head scarf. I never played with her much but somehow kept her these many years. Looking back, I have no idea why in the world I wanted that ugly little doll!
If you look real close, you will see that I also got a scrapbook album! I remember putting old pictures in that album & writing captions with white ink on the black pages. So, I'm an old timer at scrapbooking! Wish I still had that album...
And it looks like Steve had a good Christmas that year too! He was proud of his BB gun, helmet & shoulder pads, metal truck, & a target game that we loved to play! It was a metal sign with a chicken on it & if you hit the target with the rubber suction cup "bullet", the hen would lay an egg!
Steve & I would be awake way before dawn, trying to get Mom & Dad up early to open our gifts! Dad would make us go back to bed several times & then would finally give in & let us get up to see what Santa had brought.
Happy memories of years gone by...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Past...continued

more of Christmas 1978...
Sometimes unplanned photo sessions are the best!

I distinctly remember walking through J C Penneys on this evening with our little family & discovering that the Penney's picture people were there. We had just been out to eat & Karen & Jeff were not dressed for a Christmas photo shoot, but I decided to have their pictures taken anyway. And these have always been some of my favorites! I'm so glad I didn't pass up the opportunity just because they weren't in their finest Christmas outfits. I love Karen's sweet smile & the mischief in Jeff's eyes!