Posted in Advent, holidays, pics

MR. CAMPOS’ YARD CHRISTMAS DISPLAY

They tell me that for many years, Mr. Campos has put up this display in the yard. You can tell by the size of his home and his neighborhood that Mr. Campos is not a man of means, yet he puts this display up as his testimony each year.

He covers all aspects of Christmas, from snowmen to Santa, but he also has over half of his yard dedicated to telling the story of the life of Jesus, including his ascension. I am still working on a panoramic shot of that part of the yard, but I have included a couple of the pictures in the slideshow.

If you’re ever in San Angelo, ask anyone who’s lived there any amount of time how to get to this neighborhood. They’ll all be able to tell you.

Posted in Advent, holidays, pics

FROHLICHE WEINACHTEN!


Merry Christmas from West Texas! We are chillin (literally) and processing some pictures of the Christmas lights from along the Concho River and the home of Mr. Campos.

Our evening started off with a wonderful candelight Christmas Eve service (I did not set anything on fire – surprise!) followed by a wonderful Italian meal prepared by Jene’s brother-in-law, Phil, then we were off to see the Christmas lights.

Mr. Campos has decorated his yard for years. It’s his testimony of how his life has been touched by Jesus Christ. The above picture of baby Jesus is in his yard, along with thousands of other lights and decorations. I will post more pictures later after I’ve had a chance to edit them.

Our first stop on the Christmas lights tour was the light display along the Concho River. Jene’s Mom & Dad and her 8 year-old nephew, Zach, took me down so I could take pictures and see the beautiful display which inlcuded the 12 Days of Christmas and Santa fishing. It was below freezing but the wind wasn’t blowing, so it was a perfect night to hop out of the truck and walk and take pictures. Since discovering the “night snapshot” feature on my camera, I’ve been able to take images and have them actually turn out where I’ve never had success before. Props go out to THE MANUAL (Jene’) for helping me make new and exciting discoveries about my camera.

After our “cholesterol-filled breakfast” later on this morning, Jene’ and I will head back to Houston. I do have to say, even before it’s over, that this is one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had. I’ve not been ill and I’ve laughed and had a great time.

I hope wherever you are that you are with people who love you and make you laugh, because it’s the best place to be.

And now, deep in the heart of Texas, I hope to fall into a deep sleep.

Posted in Advent, holidays, pics

O STOCKING TREE… O STOCKING TREE…

This is my first Christmas outside of Houston in at least a decade. We’re in San Angelo and it’s bright, clear and cool here. Some of the youngins are out on a Sonic tater tot emergency, and we have various stages of relaxation going on from naps to blogging before we head out to the Christmas Eve service.

Yesterday was the official Christmas celebration featuring the Stocking Tree. Instead of buying large gifts for each other, we buy stocking stuffers… and stuffed these stockings were. To the members of the family that couldn’t make it to town, their stockings are stuffed then mailed.

My stocking was stuffed with everything from a journal, perfume, and candy to a silver piggy bank. One of the kids got a washcloth that had been compressed to the form of a 3 inch snowman. Just add water. Another got a “smencil” which is a pencil that is scented like peppermint. Lots of fun items were exchanged.

The stocking tree is now bare and the youngins are back from Sonic. The house is full of chatter and the sounds of remote control cars and kids slurping drinks from Sonic.

I’ve had fun playing with the kids. I was instructed by one of the parents that bleeding but no tears was nothing to worry about, but bleeding with tears might be cause for concern. I had to ask because when kids are falling down and jumping out of trees, sometimes injuries occur. Then we played games, the most unusual of which was “you’re going to be the rich old mean lady who makes us clean her house.” I paused and looked at the kids, then was told by a the cutest little boy with big blue eyes, “it’s just pretend. I’ve never known you to be violent.”

We picked too ripe pomegranates and chucked them against a tree, then helped Pop pick pecans out of the yard. Apparently, the rounder and bigger the pecan, the better the taste, so those were collected and carefully guarded. Pecan stomping began and I had some great tasting pecans while chasing kids in the yard.

Tomorrow I have to get in the car again and make the long drive back to Houston. I hope I don’t feel as deliriously tired as I did when I arrived Saturday night/Sunday morning. Jene’ and I were slap happy and I stung my lip with the lid of a water bottle because I was so tired (don’t ask). Other than the wind, the drive up was pleasant, except for that deer who tried to share the road with me. She looked as surprised to be in the predicament we were in as I was, but she kindly moved before I had to slam on the brakes.

All in all, it’s been a good trip, one that I hope to build on in the future.

Posted in about shae, Advent, holidays, Yahweh's fingerprints

PACKING…

I am currently in the middle of packing for our road trip to San Angelo. It will be about a 7 hour drive and we’re going to get there in the middle of the night it looks like. Pray for me – I’m driving! I may have to stop at Starbuck’s before I leave town.

The tv is on, but it is on one of our music stations blaring Christmas music so I don’t get distracted by any football or basketball games. I’m very proud of myself at this moment for being ahead of schedule. Don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head.

I finally got my first paycheck from my new job. For the first time in my life EVER, I’ve been able to pay all my bills, put money into savings, donate to a great charity, buy Christmas gifts, and have an unbelievable chunk of money leftover. I am within my budget I made for myself with this new job and I have money leftover to do whatever I want with. What’s that about? I am truly overwhelmed.

God is ever faithful. The more I feel, the more great relationships I have in my life that are unfolding like roses that have been waiting for forever to open themselves up to me and other relationships I’ve already had seem deeper than they already were.

So far, I’ve not been sick like I was last year. I know last year was sort of a purging, and perhaps it was a holiday turning point for me, I don’t know. I’m actually excited about Christmas this year and I’m embracing it the only ways I know how right now.

May you be blessed this holiday season and learn to embrace the real meaning of Christmas. I think it’s both different and the same for everyone. We all feel and interpret things differently, and that’s okay. If we seek, we will most certainly find.

Merry Christmas!

Posted in Advent, holidays, Yahweh's fingerprints

FEELING JUST IS.

I’m still trying to pull these thoughts together as midnight approaches. Forgive me if I ramble a bit.

I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, I’ve just been busy…New job, Christmas shopping, connecting with new friends, reconnecting with old ones, trying to get as many cards out as I can before I resort to e-cards… life always intervenes with life.

I have found ways, however, of having a few still moments here and there during the business and busy-ness that surrounds me. I dig in, press in, and lean into the wind and waves of the season. I can’t help myself. NI look to the sky and the star winks back and lights my way through the holiday maze.

There is a tremendous difference between the Christmas Season and Advent to me. One is a series of traditions and events that lead to a day in December, the other is a holy day that fills me with wonder and deepens my journey even after December is over. I hope I can keep up with all I’m learning and feeling.

As I feel my way through the holidays, something unexpected is happening. It doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Feeling is no longer a scary shadow monster that lurks around a corner waiting to knock the wind out of me. Feeling is a curious journey through days and hours where I might feel everything from anger to amusement, fear to happiness, joy to sorrow, but it’s not a rollercoaster or hurricane, or tidal wave… feeling just is.

Right now, I don’t have the time or mettle to really process feeling just is, so I’m just going to feel my way through and return to that part later. Feeling just is will be there waiting for me. I’m sure I’ll find something to share.

…and now I’m feeling tired.

Posted in Advent, holidays, pics

O CHRISTMAS TREE

This is a slideshow of some of the ornaments and decorations we have this year. I love snowmen, can you tell?

The shrinky dink snowman is special. I remember making several of these with my brother one year. You draw on plastic, cut it out and shrink it in the oven. If I ever find another shrinky dink kit I will make more!

I will be posting many pics in the upcoming weeks. In the past three days, I’ve taken nearly 400 pictures.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine blatter…

Posted in Advent, holidays, pics

O COME, O COME EMMANUEL

Tomorrow begins the Advent season. I enjoy this time of year tremendously. Unfortunately, the last couple of years, Advent has sped by, colorful, yet out of focus. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was frazzled, worn out and ready for it all to be over.

It is my intention, my prayer, my hope, that this year I can invest myself in Advent, eager with the anticipation of all Advent can teach me and all I can then, in turn, teach others.

I have two absolute Christmas carols I enjoy above all others. The first is, “Silent Night.” I suppose it captures the essence of the moment of the birth of Christ for me and it is a beautiful melody as well.

The second favorite Christmas carol is, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Whenever I sing it, truly sing it, I can feel the hunger and anticipation of its lyrics. Sometimes, I feel the desperation of the song and I feel like screaming it. “Please come! Rescue me!”

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransome captive, Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

I believe when I can truly feel that hunger and anticipation, Advent will soak into every part of me, and finally, everything will come into focus.