Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving thanks....

This post is written with tears in my eyes as often happens post holidays. I'm going to work my way backwards and before I close I am going to tell the things that I am thankful for.

Momma and Daddy just pulled off to return home. They have been here since Sunday night to celebrate our Thanksgiving on Tuesday night since I have to work Wednesday and Thursday nights. Louise and Dirt left after lunch today to go to Dirt's family's Thanksgiving in Corinth, Miss. Leigh left with Nathan to go celebrate with his family in north Georgia. Now you understand the teary eyes. It's tough for anyone (no matter how much they love time to themselves and calmness!) to go from having all of their loved ones around to being by yourself to go back to work :^( Enough of feeling sorry for myself and, goodness knows, I need the rest. I may be crazy going from my crazy schedule to 4 days of being totally alone and only one little job to keep me busy!

Last night we had the Walker Thanksgiving that included the 6 of us, Nathan (Leigh's boyfriend), Rayla and Tucker Black (friends who are more like family. Rayla teaches at Faulkner and is married to a life long friend of the family from Valdosta. She also is single handily responsible for feeding us and "real food" that we ever get. Tucker is her little boy.), Devin and Kesia Jessie (Kesia works with me and Devin is her child, that I share as my "part time child" and they, too have become like family), and April (this is Leigh's friend that she used to work with at the Biscuits) If you are keeping count, that's 12. And we could have EASILY fed twice that many! My mom, being the amazing mom she is, wanted to have plenty of leftovers for me while I was here by myself but cooked like I was going to be hosting a small army everyday they are all gone! SO MANY leftovers!

We, of course, had turkey, ham, dressing (stay tuned to the end for THE cutest idea for dressing!), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, broccoli and cheese casserole, creamed corn, home made rolls, apple pie (the very first I have ever made and it was GREAT, if I do say so myself!), drop cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, Louise's world famous pound cake, turtle pie, and sugar cookies. Earlier that day mom had made a cheese ball with crackers, cheese dip, veggie tray with ranch dip, rotel, deviled eggs, chex mix, and various cookies to munch on all day pre meal. It was so good! The diet will definitely start soon...well, after Christmas...or New Years...definitely after the Super Bowl!

Monday I only worked a few hours at Faulkner and we spent the rest of the day shopping! I'm more of an on line shopper but it was fun going and helping Mom and Dad finish (that's right finish! can you imagine?!?) and spending time with the family. They got some great deals and I got some ideas but we were all exhausted by that night! Unfortunately, I think it was just a foreshadowing of Friday!

I think my favorite times while they were here were Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings. We got up and it was just the family (minus Louise and Dirt) and we had leisurely breakfasts and some much needed, laid back family time before all the craziness of the days started. I love my family and next only to God sending his Son to die for my sins, there is nothing this season, or any other day of any year that I am more thankful for.

Some other things that I am thankful for are my family's health. This is something that other's may take for granted but I never will again and haven't missed a day to thank God since July 2004. My friends. I think it's ridiculous that I was blessed with such a good family and then with friends who are just as good as family. My house. Goodness knows it's not perfect but I have plenty of space and it's almost perfect for me, not to mention I can make the payments every month. I dare say that is something that numerous families would love to be able to say the same things for where they live. My car. It's not paid for but it's SO much nicer than my old one and I am focusing on that! How did I ever live without heated seats?? My jobs. I work a lot and don't love the hours and some other things but how many people would give almost anything for a job that they didn't hate and paid all the bills? Being born an American. This is NOT a perfect country, it is not headed in the direction that I would like right now, and things do look a little dimmer than in the past but, there is NO WHERE else I would rather live. And as I sit here and watch the news about the terrorist attacks in India and remember that day in September in 2001, I am so grateful to be on American soil and an America. I am also grateful for all of those, like Adam, who gave their lives so I could enjoy this holiday with my family without having to worry about a bomb dropping on my house or gunmen barging through the door.

I hope that you all have as wonderful Thanksgiving as I had and remember to thank God for all of your blessings!

Oh yeah! Per Rachael Ray and Jamie Walker, put your dressing in a cupcake tin for little individual servings! It is SO cute and was quite a hit here this year! Thanks Rachael for the idea! Pictures posted soon!

Monday, November 10, 2008

50 reasons that I am the worst niece ever....

1. In the last two months I have missed not one, not two, but three Aunts or Uncle's birthdays without so much as a phone call or e card.

2. Do I really need 49 others? What could be worse than number one?????

September 5th was KaKa's 4* birthday and I missed it. Louise, being the perfect niece that she is, tried and tried to get me to make time to do a blog and I totally just never made time to do it.

Saturday was GinGin's 50th birthday!!!! (Do you think it would help if I put in here how if you saw her you would not believe she is 50???? Well, I'm trying it anyways..... NO WAY she could pass for 50 :^) It was the first thing I thought of when I woke up and thought twice during the day that I would call her and even reminded Daddy to call her and I just never made the call.

Sunday was Uncle Ervin's birthday. This is the least of my sins, not because his birthday is any less important, but because he could care less :) I guarantee he was not checking my blog to see if I wrote about him nor was he checking his phone to see if I called. None the less, I didn't acknowledge it so just add it in to the "Laurie's the worst niece ever" list.

Happy Birthday to all three of you, some later than others! I can't imagine any niece having better aunts, and even if I was the best niece ever it wouldn't be what you two deserve for all you've done for me! I love you and will try to make it up to you at Christmas!!!!! :^) :^) :^)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here it comes....50 things about the best Mom ever!

So....50 years ago today (well minus a little time difference) a beautiful little 8lb, 21 inch long baby girl with a head full of dark hair was born. Jamie Diane Garner made her debut to her missionary parents at a hospital in Manila, Philippines. That is where the story began. I don't know the end to the story but I know the first half and, believe me, it's worth reading. Here's the tricky part, I don't exactly have the time or talent to write it out like a story. So, I am going to steal an idea off of some other blogs and give you 50 Jamie facts that, if I do ever write that book, will most definitely be included.

1. She was born in the Philippines to Charlie T and Jenet Garner, who were doing their 2nd of 3 missionary tours there. They already had two sons, Ted and Tom and after Jamie was born they added one more girl, Beth. Now she has 2 sister-in-laws, 1 brother-in-law, 8 nephews, and 3 nieces.

2. She claims, that with all of those siblings, they never fought. She enjoyed sharing, moving a lot, and having her dates hang out at her house and never got aggravated with them or disrespected her parents. Although, I have never bought the "never" term (sorry, Mom, I haven't ;^), I do know that they had an exceptional time growing up and she was a great daughter and a great sister.

3. She love playing games! Card games, board games, car games, anything competitive. But, she is definitely not competitive to a fault (like some others that will go unmentioned) she just loves spending the time with her friends and or family. She has passed that love onto all of her daughters. No matter how corny it sounds, our family loves to play games together!

4. Although she loves playing game such as mentioned above, she would not, could not be defined as an athlete. She doesn't enjoy sports, playing or watching, unless (and this is a big unless) someone she loves, specifically one of her children or husband, is playing or coaching.

5. Another favorite pastime of hers is singing. She had a beautiful alto voice before and has worked really hard to get it back to where it is today. When we would take road trips we would all take part in Mom lead signings. Since my dad didn't get to go a lot, guess who always got stuck with the "boy" parts of the song? And, I don't know what kinds of songs you had in mind but we sang, 'church songs', 'camp songs', 'fun songs', 'Christmas songs', and songs we would hear on the radio.

6. She loves the holidays, especially Christmas time. She goes all out, doesn't leave one square inch of a tree or house for that matter, uncovered. There are ornaments and nick knacks everywhere. I've never seen a Christmas tree done up better than she does it.

7. She had a massive stroke on July 15, 2004. The doctors said that if the clot that caused it had been 7/38ths of a mm bigger she would have died. She couldn't walk, write, could barely even smile or talk. Now she walks, talks, drives, does pretty much everything that she did before. It's actually pretty amazing.

8. I weighed 10lbs 6oz, Louise weighed 9lbs 15oz, and Leigh was 10lbs 15oz. I only tell you that because my mom is 5'3" and weighed barely 100lbs before she got pregnant with me. All natural too. Pretty impressive, huh?

9. She graduated from high school in 1976 and left that fall for college at Freed Hardeman University in Tennessee. It's where both of her brothers went and where her baby sister would go too.

10. Over her Thanksgiving break 1978 she visited her grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins in Jacksonville, FL. While going to service at the congregation where her Uncle's family worshiped she was introduced to one of her cousin's friends and their new youth minister. She saw him again that Christmas and he came and visited her at school over Valentine's Day, 1979. That's when he purposed and she accepted. They got married that August and had their first baby (that's me!) the following July. How's that for fast moving!

11. Her favorite movies are old musicals.

12. Her children were never bored when they were little. During the summers she would take us to every single vacation Bible school in the county and every surrounding county. We went to every reading and special thing at the library. Picnics at the park and just going to the playground, anything that was free she packed us all up and carried us all there to keep us busy and having fun. Now, looking back at how busy she must have been and how tired she had to have been and how little people do like that now, it's pretty amazing.

13. She was always a full time mother and wife until her youngest was in high school. But she would take part time and seasonal jobs that didn't interfere with her family to make sure that we all had the most amazing birthdays and Christmases.

14. We were really, really barely, maybe considered the lowest of middle class but somehow her and my dad always managed to pay for, not only private school but anything extra curricular that we ever wanted to even try. Example, I played t ball, softball, basketball, the saxophone in the pep band, and sang in the chorus at different parts of my childhood.

15. Me and my sisters all played athletics (for the sake of time, I am considering cheering as athletics) and she never once missed a home or away game that any of us dressed out for even if we never made it off the bench. She has always been our biggest fan.

16. She loves to have her nails a professional, or one of her daughters.

17. She sold Mary Kay for many years when we were growing up. She would take us along to her parties and every now and then we got to play in the makeup.

18. She has always made every friend of ours feel extremely welcome at our house, whether it be from middle school, high school or college. They always talk about how they were part of our family.

19. Mom always cooked enough food for everyone! You never knew who would end up at the table with us but there was always plenty and everyone was happy.

20. We ALWAYS held hands while we prayed around the dinner table. It was a rule!

21. Mom would be a millionaire if we really did pay her every time we said crap, shut up, butt, etc. That was a rule too!

22. When we were small, Mom and Dad were the dorm parents for the boys dorm at Georgia Christian. I still don't understand how she managed all those boys and the three of us!!!

23. Mom sang in the chorus at Freed Hardeman and now anytime any chorus calls for former members, she loves to go up and sing "The Lord Bless You and Keep You" with them.

24. When Mom was a teenager, she was a CandyStriper.

25. Mom was the youngest patient on her floor in the rehab hospital after her stroke but probably the most loved. It was the best example of making the best of the worst situation. A few visited Church with her and we still take goodies by to our 'Siskin family' sometimes.

26. She LOVES to teach class at church and she always does such a good job! She puts a ton of time and work into making her classroom look great and her kids feel great about coming to class.

27. She is one of the most giving people I know. Maybe tied with my dad. Together they would literally give you anything they had. For that matter, they would find a way to get whatever you needed if they didn't have it.

28. Loves candy and loved passing her love of it on to her children!! :)

29. She and Dad are really excited about becoming grandparents one day!

30. When we were in high school and would go out on dates, she was always up when we got home, no matter what time it was. It was never discussed, she was just always up and we always knew she would be.

31. Loves Coke. Scratch loves and insert addicted to.

32. When we were younger and would get to go to the movies, she would let us buy candy at the gas station or Dollar General and then she would take it in in her purse.

33. She made a great scrapbook for Louise's wedding events....and I think it was her first one!!

34. She always comes up with the best presents! She just always seems to know!! I think it a combination of her love of the holidays and her love of others over herself.

35. Whenever we were sick and would have to stay home from school, she would do whatever we the same movie over and over or play the same game over and over!! When we got sick at night time she would come in our rooms and read the Bible to us until we fell asleep.

36. Hand and Foot is a game that I think her family invented and she is practically a pro at it.

37. She was VERY hesitant about letting Louise and Leigh go to their high school proms....even though she and Dad could and did go. But she really enjoyed helping them pick the perfect dresses and getting them ready to go.

38. She makes the best homemade yeast rolls ever!! I think her son in law is her favorite person to make them for.

39. She loves to play Dominoes....they even used them as part of her rehab and she STILL loves to play.

40. Speaking of rehab.....she HATED it. There is no lesser word that could be used.

41. She has lived in the Philippines, Texas, Oregon, Florida, and Georgia.

42. She can cook anything and I do mean ANYTHING with the exception of instant Jello. I know....I don't understand it either.

43. The favorite job she ever had was working at the make up counter at JCPenney's. If I ever had the money I would buy her her own make up store. Even if it didn't make much money she would LOVE it and is SO good at it! Hard to believe I'm her daughter, huh?

44. For our birthdays every year she makes your favorite meal. The great thing is, is that the meal doesn't have to go together (i.e. fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, rolls), it can be your favorite stuff. Mine usually is broccoli and cheese casserole, chicken casserole, asparagus and cheese, cheese potato's, and yeast rolls. Oh yeah, baby. I don't ever ask for jello :^)

45. She had two miscarriages. Just another thing that amazes me that she went through and still has the sunniest disposition of anyone I know.

46. She puts the funniest things on her cell phone voice mail. You'll just have to call her. It's always changing and it will always make you smile.

47. She loves 3 Dog Night, America, Michael Bolton, and Billy Joel just to name a few.

48. She is a die hard pack rat. Don't try to change her or organize her, believe me we've tried! But if you need something I made in VBS in 1986, I'm sure she can find it for you.

49. There is no one in the world that I could post 50 things about who would love it and appreciate it more than she will. Or who deserves it more.

50. I have saved the most important one for last. She is the absolute epitome of the Christian woman described in Proverbs 31. She takes the J-O-Y song theory to heart and as far as I can tell, always have. In turn it has made her the best daughter, sister, wife, mother, and friend that I have ever met. She has done the Lord's work her entire life and we are lucky, no blessed, to have her as a mother. I tell people all the time that she absolutely couldn't have been a better mother or made for a better childhood. But, I honestly don't think she could have been a better person. You too are blessed if you have met her.

Mom, we love you and wish we could be with you today but can't wait to celebrate with you all weekend long!