Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas Letter

Greetings from Bishop! Somehow last Christmas came and went and I didn’t get a single Christmas card mailed. This year is going to be different, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Like most people, we have been busier than ever but fighting “busy-ness” all the way. One of these days I’m sure that boredom will take over and I won’t know what to do with myself. Until then, let me catch you up to date on our family.

Joe is still working in Mammoth at the Cable TV system. It’s been nearly 26 years of employment there and we’re thankful he has a job. He loves to backpack into the Sierras and along with some family day hikes, he packed in several times during the summer. There’s nothing like sleeping under the stars and knowing the phone won’t be ringing. Plus, the trout in the mountain lakes taste like none other! He also logs many miles on his bike and this year he’s put on over 2100 miles. It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, the ride is always good for his soul.

Scrapbooking and photography keep me on the go. I’ve been with Close To My Heart for over 15 years now. In October 2008, Karliann and I spent a week cruising the Mediterranean with other CTMH consultants. (Joe preferred the mountains to the city so he didn’t go!) It was the 8th cruise I’ve earned with CTMH. This year’s incentive trip is to New Zealand but I chose not to work so hard and therefore, I didn’t earn it. While I would love to have traveled to NZ, our family visited Jannalyn and Derrick in Australia in June 2008 so I don’t feel entirely jipped. Photography has always been a passion and this past year I’ve done a lot of portrait work. I had the opportunity to photograph 3 weddings this summer/fall and that posed new opportunities and growth for me as a professional photographer.

The port in Malta.

France...we walked all over this little seaside town. I couldn't get enough of the colorful buildings and incredible architecture!

Jannalyn and Derrick completed 3 years of nursing school in Australia and returned to the states (Bishop, specifically) last December as RNs. They stayed with us for several months after returning, were hired at our hospital (they’re well loved!), found out they were expecting, and bought a home. Not bad for a young couple! Our sweet little grandson, Riley Chase, was born on November 6th, making him nearly 7 weeks old. Being in the delivery room made me wonder why in the world I had 4 children without an epidural...can’t quite figure that one out. But oh well...too late! Jannalyn is off of work until early spring and Derrick returns in January after 6 weeks of family leave. We spend a lot of time together. Obviously that is so wonderful.

Brandon is in Toldeo, Washington where he works as a mechanic. Joe, Karliann, and I drove to see him this past June. We had a great time seeing the Northwest and spending time with him, his girlfriend, Leslie, and the dogs. We drove to Mt. St. Helens one day, ran into a bear on another day, and had some of the best chicken ever before making the trip home. Brandon and Leslie had been here earlier in the year to help us dig a pond in our back yard. That was a big undertaking and they were determined to see water flow into it before they left..and they did!

Jessica turned 20 a few weeks ago. She graduated from high school last year (June 2008) and enrolled at University of Reno, Nevada where she has completed 3 semesters. During this fall semester, she realized that her call is to nursing. Bishop offers a terrific 18 month LVN step-up to RN program through our local community college and so she enrolled. In the midst of a winter storm recently, I drove to Reno, helped pack her up, and bring her home. We love having her cheerful little self around the house. School begins for her mid-January. She completed a half marathon in September at Lake Tahoe. Amazing!

Karliann turned 16 a few weeks ago and is a Sophomore at Bishop High. She volunteers at Bishop Kids Club, an after school program for kids who are elementary age. The kids absolutely adore her. If she’s not “working” at playing Wii with the kids, she’s helping with homework or fixing snacks. She and Joe have a date night once a week where they go to Ceramics. They’ve made some beautiful pottery items while making great memories together. It’s been tough on Karli to be an only child but she has some sweet friends. Now that she has her big sisters around and the new responsibility of being an aunt, she doesn’t lack for things to do. That's Karliann on the left:)

In keeping up with social if I have the time... I have a blog where you can read about our encounter with a bear (really, it was pretty exciting!), see photographs of our family activities, and keep up with us throughout the year. Please visit me!! In addition, I have a facebook page so please stop by and be my friend! One thing I hate most is losing touch with friends.

It’s been an exciting year filled with many exciting events, new challenges, and blessings beyond measure. May each of you enjoy a fabulous new year sprinkled with fun and exciting adventures, the love of family and friends, and great health and safety. God bless you!

Laurie and Family

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What To Give? The Gift of Time, of course!

Our cute little elementary age neighborhood kids have absolutely everything imaginable. Not that that's a bad thing...okay, truthfully, it's bad when you're trying to throw a creative curve to their flock of funness! Up and down the isles of Kmart, Walmart, Target, Dwaynes, you name it...even the craft store! Nuthin' really caught my eye.

So, ya know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna give them each the gift of my time. Little coupons good for a trip to McDonalds for a free ice cream cone or happy meal followed by a trip to the park to feed the ducks are the gifts of my choice this year. Additional gift cards to bake cookies with me and another to eat a special dinner with our family. I don't know but my guess is that they'll remember time spent with someone special much longer than a little toy that broke within a week of Christmas.

How about you? Do you have children to buy for who seem to have everything and you're stumped for a clever gift? Try time. I think it's a refreshing concept and one that will cause a lot of excitement! How cool is it? You don't have to go buy it, you can't return it, the recipient can use it any time, and there's no expiration date. Gotta love it!

Give it some thought then share how you might be able to give the gift of time this year!

Til nex time~

My Favorite Christmas Movies

Christmas just isn't Christmas without watching a few classic movies...wouldn't you agree? I mean, if we don't have snow outside, I can at least feel it when watching The Santa Clause! Bernard is my favorite character on that one.

Then there's The a kid, I never read the book or really even heard of the story. But in the Jim Carey rendition, I get it! The grinch is really a mean old green thing with a big heart...only problem is that his heart needs to be thawed. My favorite part is the warm smile that spreads across his face when his heart grows three sizes larger. Oh, and the magic of Mount Crumpit!

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree is the cutest yet most lonely little tree ever. Sweet little ornaments could have such a transforming effect on a tree.

Polar Express is another favorite. I mean, wouldn't it be amazing to have a massive locomotive pull up in front of your home, whisk you on board and take you to the North Pole? Ah, the magic of childhood imagination.

It's A Wonderful Life...what a classic. If we all lived our lives with a strong sense of value and character, imagine what our world would be like.

So there you go...a short list of my favorites that help make Christmas memories.

I don't remember much from my childhoos and that includes Christmas but I do have one or two sweet memories I'll share tomorrow. Until then~


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Best Day of the Year

Every year at Christmas time my friend from high school days sends us the best Christmas present ever...a box of homemade shortbread. It's not just average see, it's very different. It has something in it that makes my entire family look forward to the month of December. There's something about it that, oh along about mid-December, challenges each of us to race to the mailbox to see if it arrived that day. The shortbread has a strange effect on,, in particular. It causes me to find hiding places so I don't have to share it! (Yeah, that's darn desperate but true.) The shortbread also makes me tell a little lie..."Hey mom, did Bonnie's shortbread come today?" "No, honey, I don't recall there being a box in the mail." All the while the coveted box of shortbread is hidden in a small ice chest in the laundry room....and one piece is missing.

Receiving Bonnie's box of shortbread means that Christmas is officially here! And you'll be happy to know that guilt got the better of me and I brought the box out of hiding and shared it with the fam. I even went so far as to pull two pieces out, wrap them up, and send them to our son in Washington state. I'm feeling good about that one!

We spent the day baking yesterday...our favorite treats to bake at Christmas are Chocolate Mint-filled Cookies, Hamburger cookies, Shortbread Lemon Bars (these are yummy!), and Carmel Corn. Instead of just walking a couple of miles today, I walked and went to the gym...the reasons are obvious!

Tomorrow I'll share my favorite movies to watch at Christmas time. Until then!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grateful Today...

I'm thankful for some special things today!

1. Babysitting my darling little grandson for a couple of hours. Even more greatful that his Great Aunt Cindy was here so we teamed the effort and it was, well...efforless and pure joy!

2. are amazing, not only in your giving spirit but your ability to help me tackle projects that would otherwise be too overwhelming for me to go alone. We cleaned out a closet and bedroom that haven't been cleaned out for years and years! What tomorrow??

3. For my precious devotion book, Streams In The Desert. Each morning I wrap the day in prayer and this devotion book always seems to speak to me very specifically for that day.

4. The girls went out for dinner this evening (to Yamatani's, aka Yummytummies) so I didn't have to cook. I had a lazy dinner that was good, just boring. Oh, and I'm extra grateful for Julianne, my cute neice from Arizona who I love to tease.

5. Lastly, I am grateful that there was still some Cookie Dough ice cream and whipped cream at the end of the day.

See you soon!