Snow is fun. Quad riding is a blast. Bullmastiffs are a neverending source of joy. Put them all together and what do you have? A super way to start the day. I'll put pictures of the puppies on next, but my camera battery needed to charge. I think it got too cold. Like me. I need a cup of coffee about now. Starbucks Christmas blend. Ahhhh.
To be truthful, I haven't been feeling so very Christmassy. I wanted to, and I planned on it, especially after being so full of the Thanksgiving spirit, but I felt no joy. Just the worries of needing to rush and get things done. Things like shopping, getting the house decorated,(and believe me, I am NOT good at that chore) responding to the needs in the community that we hear about this time of year. And the list goes on. How sad is that? Christmas reduced to a series of duties to be checked off of my to-do list? I feel burdened and joyless with my list of things overwhelming me, and my perceived expectations of others weighing me down. I must be a barrel of monkeys to hang out with. I need Jesus desperately, and I have felt distant from him for weeks. So this morning, I turned on my new Micheal W. Smith Christmas CD, got my bible and my journal and sat in my chair to sit awhile with God. Reading through Colossians, my heart began to dethaw. "We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
Christ Is Supreme Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together."
Amen. Those living, breathing words of life flowed through me and filled me to the rafters with love for my savior this morning. Those words made me cry. THIS is why we celebrate Christmas! Thank you, thank you Lord for renewing a right spirit within me. (And my family thanks you, too) The Christmas music from the Micheal W. Smith CD isn't just music for my ears, but for my heart and soul as well. Just like gingerbread smells remind you of the season, this CD bings you to the place you should be at this time of year. It filled me with an anticipitory joy for the Christmas season and the astounding gift of Jesus and for his ultimate return. I felt like breathing a huge sigh of relief as the Lord spoke through his Word and through the music to gently, but firmly take me where I needed to be. In his presence. Now I feel I can tackle my projects with "endurance and patience" belting out "Joy the World" the entire time, while wearing a red and green elf costume and slogging down egg nog. (Never mind the costume and the egg nog) Joy to the world. Really.
Oh, it was fun. And funny. The grilled turkey (the expensive, free-range, organic, treated humanely and raised on a sustainable farm) caught on fire. Instead of helping Rod swat out the flames which were whipping wildly in the brisk East winds, I grabbed the camera to memorialize the moment. BUT, the turkey was STILL tasty, just had a bit of a woodsy, smokey flavor which the guys appreciated. The second turkey was massaged with sage butter, topped with bacon (no, I'm not kidding) and basted every 30 minutes with a maple syrup glaze. Here is the magic as it happened.
Almost everyone loved the curried butternut squash soup, too. You had to like both curry and squash to enjoy it, but we had a few of those people there. Having everyone here was a blast. It didn't feel as crowded as I thought it would so that was nice. Plus, did you happen to see the Packers/Lions game yesterday? WooHoo Packers! 10-1 this year, not that I'm really keeping count, or anything. We really missed Josiah being here so much though. He would've had so much fun with his family here. Random Thanksgiving photos:
Okay, they are really puppies, but I have this insane desire to dress them up like miniature pilgrims and Indians and set them around the Thanksgiving feast. Please, somebody stop me before I actually do it. And then at Christmas, we could dress Lila and Chopper up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and the puppies as the tiny little and furry, elves. Seriously, what could be more fun? A Nativity scene, perhaps? I can see it now and it fills my mind with visions of sugared plums, it really does. I think someone needs to literally stop me before I can do any serious holiday damage. BTW, we have changed two of the girl puppies names. The little pumpkin with the "R" on her chest is Rachel Ray and the Fatty Lumkin with the "T" on her chest is Tyra. She is fierce and has a signature walk. (Again, don't judge me.) Here are recent pictures filled with puppy cuteness.
I am so excited. We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year and I think about 20-22 people are coming. Here. To a sit-down dinner. But, you ask, doesn't your table only seat six? You are correct. So we will set up two more tables(somewhere) and then there will be absolutely no room to walk around. Which is fine. We will just stuff ourselves to capacity with turkey and all the fixings (which I will be fixing for two days)and stay at the tables until someone from the outside thinks to call 911 and have paramedics Jaws of Life rescue us. And did I say that we are making TWO turkeys? How fun is that? Very. One will be traditional, with stuffing, roasted in the oven to perfection. The other will be brined (in a vegetable broth, salt and honey mixture) before being grilled outside with hickory smoke essence. In case you haven't picked up on it, I am beyond tickled about hosting this year. I bought The World's Biggest Lazy Susan in anticipation of our day. It was at Costco, so right there you have an idea of the size, but it is approximately the size Moorea, an island in French Polynesia. (yes, I have been there, so I can accurately compare) It could potentially hold our entire Thanksgiving feast for 20. How convenient would THAT be?
Just so you know, I DO realize that Thanksgiving is not all about the food. (Whaaat??) I love that the family looks forward to getting together and sharing a meal. We look forward to laughing and eating and bottle feeding puppies together. There are so many things I am thankful for this year that I'm in danger of sounding really cheesy if we go around the Lazy Susan and tell what we are most thankful to God for. My husband, daughter and son are a given, but I am so incredibly blessed to have each of them in my life that I may start crying just thinking about it. I am thankful that I have my sister and niece coming over and for our relationship which grows on a daily basis. I am so proud of her and the decisions she has made in her life. (Again, with the tears.) I am thankful for my sweet/funny sister/friend Tambry Lynn who is back home again. See, I sound like a B-list actress thanking everyone when she wins her Lifetime Movie Award. Gag!!! But, just so you know, I have loads to be thankful for. And I am grateful to my God, my friend who lavishes these gifts on me every day until all I can do is cry tears of thankfulness.
*********Puppy Update********** We have named the puppies. Boys: Big Red, Grizzly and Kodiak. Girls: Chennick,(named after my two nieces) Jaslene and Fatty Lumpkin. Jaslene(named after Cycle Eight's America's Next Top Model winner. Yes, we are that shallow. Please don't judge) is the runt of the litter and is being bottle fed more often than the others at this point. (Lots of hugs and kisses, too) She just doesn't seem to be able to compete with the Wild Beasts who fight over milk as if their lives are at stake. So we are keeping a close watch on her. Above and to the left you can see both Jaslenes, gasp over the remarkable resemblance and understand immediately why we had to choose this name for our special little puppy. We love Puppy Jaslene and often find her in odd, stilted poses similar to Model Jaslene. Plus, they are both a little on the thin side. (In Cycle 8 both Amy and I were positive Natasha would win. Frankly, we think she was robbed.Just so you know.) Off I go to write my Getting Ready for Thanksgiving List.
I'm spending way too much time pondering on a title for this post when we all KNOW it just going to be about Lila and/or Chopper and the puppies. In words and/or pictures it will describe the various feeding techniques, sleeping habits, and various bodily functions of the puppies. (They are puppies, so everything is still cute, okay?) You will see them in their natural habitat, the Swimming Pool in My Bedroom. You will almost hear them as their cries for food start with a series of low grunts, building to a reverberating crescendo before trailing off again. And if you can't smell them, well thank the Good Lord who has delivered you yet again from trials and tribulations you could not bear. But it will almost be like you are here with them, crouching carefully; hidden behind the Laundry Basket and watching the pups frolic about in their Swimming Pool.(Yes, Ang, I said "frolic." It works here, okay?) Enjoy your Puppy Safari.
Pretty much in that order, too. Lila is still not up to par due to her c-section surgery, but she is coming back, while still being a patient, gentle and efficient Mom. I could have taken some lessons from her, I'm telling you. Puppies are being supplemented by bottle feeding (no, I won't get too attached, don't you worry about me...) Oh, after our grand announcement of "Six puppies;4 boys, 2 girls" it has come to our attention that we have THREE boys and THREE girls.We'll be re-checking periodically and letting you know if we change our opinions concerning their gender. We'll also be taking donations for our Puppy Anatomy 101 classes in December. Individual puppy pictures are not quite possible yet as they are squirmy little buggers who refuse to pose for the photographer. (me) Check back often and I'll post pictures of the boys and girls as soon as they cooperate. It will be worth the wait, I'm sure.
I can't believe they are here. Six surviving puppies, four boys and two girls. After all the drama of an unexpected c-section and the sad loss of four of the pups, we are thankful that Lila is healthy and a wonderful mom, even while in pain. Amazing. Chopper is doing his part, refusing food (and I'm talking cheese and bacon here) because Lila won't eat yet. Eggs were refused this morning. He is in a sympathetic funk and misses his Lila.
Oh, and did I mention that we have SIX. BEAUTIFUL.PUPPIES.
Yes, I know.
Lots of fun and puppy joy for all.
Here are recent pictures. (The beach pictures above were taken before we knew Lila was pregnant...) The pictures below were taken yesterday.If you are interested in puppies, please check out the posts from last Feb-March which you can find as you scroll down on the right hand side of the page in the blog archives. Enjoy!
Alright, I haven't posted this because then people will know that I get together with a group of people who live to beef up their trucks. Actually, I live with one of them, so I should not be ashamed. I finally decided to post these pictures because I went over to Ang's blog,http://dastump.blogspot.com/, and saw the delightful dinosaur that is her son, Jake. He is also a Dodge truck fanatic. Actually, I think he likes to know what everyone drives. He kind of dismissed us, because our Dodge truck was "purple." I am so embarrassed. The trucks look pretty cool when they are all lined up and driving down the highway. One guy had a Ford( cough cough) that he had painted as a tribute to his brother who was killed in Iraq last year. Very touching. Anyway, Jake, all these trucks are for you. Enjoy! Diane (owner of the purple Dodge)
"My trust is not that I am holy, but that, being unholy, Christ died for me. My rest is here, not in what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is and must be,--in what Christ did and is still doing as He stands before yonder throne of glory." Charles Spurgeon