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Joy to the World!

Merry Christmas from our happy little family to yours!

Soon we’ll be posting a 2011 year in review and catching everyone up on what has been going on in our lives. But for now, we are busy celebrating Christmas with those we love. We’re so thankful for this time of year. Peace and joy and love to you and your family this season and throughout the coming year.

Wakka Wakka Wakka!

I don’t know if you aware, but today is a very special day. Yes it’s Thanksgiving Eve, but that’s not what makes it special. No, today is the opening for The Muppets! Those who know me know that I have spent a large portion of my life dreaming of being a Muppeteer. I even perfected my Kermit the Frog impression after Jim Henson died in hopes that someone would hear it and maybe I could play the part of Kermit. I also do Mrs. Piggie, Animal, and the Swedish Chef.

Yesterday, Jason Segel was on Bob and Tom talking about the movie. He told a story about how during his press junket to promote the movie, he was on a Mexican talk show with Kermit. During the interview, he noticed the talk show host was beginning to tear up and his lip was quivering. He eventually just started crying and Jason and Kermit gave the guy a hug. This is the power the Muppets have. Jason said this on B&T, and I think it is so true. “The Muppets were the creators of modern comedy. They set the stage for Monty Python and Saturday Night Live.” But even further down the road, if it weren’t for the Muppets, we wouldn’t have The Simpsons or Family Guy. The Muppets showed it was funny to take something that belonged in the world of children, like cartoons or puppets, and put it in adult world situations and teach the same lessons Henson was teaching to kids in Sesame Street to adults still trying to figure life out. It really isn’t that easy being green, but if a frog from the swamp can take a bear, a pig, a dog, a whatever, and a band lead by a guy missing a bunch of teeth and put a show on Broadway or solve a diamond caper or sing songs with music legends or perform skits with stars of the silver screen, then anyone can. They are truly cultural icons, and no matter the outcome of this new movie, I for one am glad they are back.

Most Forgotten Point

I know I am not perfect. I know sometimes I pretend to be, but I am working on humility. I also think I know what part makes me not perfect. And I think it’s something that a lot of people struggle with.

Sometimes I forget that people love me. Not that the people that love me do a bad job of showing me they love me, because they don’t. But because I get so frustrated or angry or upset that my brain clouds my judgement, and I don’t ever think that maybe the person who I am angry with isn’t saying things to hurt me. They are saying things because they love me.

Sadly though, this cloudiness can lead to people saying some extremely mean and hurtful things. I know some of the things I am most sorry for in life were because I said something when I was in this type of situation.

I think it’s important to remember that people are not evil…some are, but most aren’t. And the ones that make us craziest are probably the ones that love us the most. Maybe we should cut them some slack.

At my heaviest, I weighed 300 pounds. I never in a million years thought I would be able to run for prolonged periods of time, let alone for 30 minutes straight. But with some great support and some hard work, Savannah and I recently ran our first 5k. We participated in  the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure supporting breast cancer awareness and research. Here is a picture of us from race day.

We also hiked for Safe Haven, a homeless shelter for families, who every year puts on Hike for the Homeless. We mentioned in our blog from last October, that we were participating in  the sixth annual hike. Savannah, her sister Brook, and two of Brook’s boys, Cameron and Ethon, formed Team Trailblazers. For the seventh annual hike, Team Trailblazers almost doubled in size! Also our team was able to raise $200 in just two days! We also hiked Edwin Warner Park for 2.67 miles! We are so fit! 🙂 Here is a picture of the whole team.

And continuing with a move to fitness, we are running the Grace Ministries Turkey Trot on November 24. We are super excited because our good friends John and Anelle will be running with us! Well, they will probably be running ahead of us, but we will be in  the same race.

ARRIBA! ARRIBA!

Happy Feet 2During my morning commute, I enjoy listening to the Bob and Tom Show. During commercial breaks, however, I like to stay abreast of world issues, so I switch the dial over to NPR (I know. I’m so well-rounded.) So this morning I get into my car, Bob and Tom go to commercial break, so I switch over to NPR. They had their movie critic giving his review of the newly released Happy Feet 2. Could someone please tell me why on Earth a high-culture, intellectual station like NPR would be critiquing a movie about a young penguin that doesn’t know how to express himself?! I mean this guy was tearing into this light-hearted family comedy like it was something submitted to the Cannes Film Festival.

But it got me thinking, what with all of the news and media focused on celebrities and Hollywood and movies, and grumpy dudes laying a verbal smack down on a kid’s movie, we seem to be living in a world that is so critical and judgmental of everything. And if our entertainment is focused on the judgment of complete strangers, how are we treating the people that we know?

I Might Be Hibernating

I think I must be part bear. The colder it gets outside, the harder it is to get out of my bed. I quite enjoy my life. I have a good job, a beautiful wife, a great dog. I have every reason to hop right out of bed and enjoy another one of God’s glorious days. But on days like today, I find myself burrowing deeper into the covers. Thank goodness I don’t live where it’s cold! My life would consist of nothing but sleep from October to March. I’d miss Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day (all of which happen to be some of my favorite holidays) because I would be hibernating. I guess that’s why they put all of these holidays during these cold months. So people would be forced to get out of the house in order to maintain relationships with loved ones. Thanks Hallmark! 🙂

Memories of Memaw

We haven’t posted in a while. We had planned another Festive Friday post for the last Friday in June, but that turned into a hectic day, with Ryan’s flight getting in late, a mad dash to White Bluff to celebrate my Memaw’s birthday (but she was feeling sick by the time we got there), throwing stuff into suitcases for an early morning trip to Texas, and then a terrifying call that my sister’s house was on fire. Thankfully, no one got hurt. As you can imagine, we’ve had a very busy summer. But all of that is a story for another day.

This past Wednesday night (or early Thursday morning really as it was 2 a.m.) we watched my dear, sweet Memaw take her last breath on this earth. I’m thankful she’s not in pain anymore, and I’m thankful for the hope of Heaven, but I sure do miss her already. Life will never be the same without her, but it certainly was made sweeter because of her time here with us. A few of the grandchildren spoke during the service on Sunday. I thought I would share what I read during the services for those who couldn’t be there.

Memories of Memaw
My Memaw always fit the perfect image of a grandmother. From my earliest memories, I remember her in the kitchen cooking, I remember her sitting at the sewing machine helping me sew, I remember her rocking in her chair and crocheting…all the classic grandmother things.

There are so many things I’ll always remember about Memaw. She was a good hugger. She laughed a lot. She loved to sing. I remember her singing “Hang down your head, Tom Dooley” when I was little. As a teenager, I loved sitting beside her in church and listening to her beautiful alto voice harmonizing. I was determined to learn how to harmonize, so I would try to sing just like her. Memaw was also a giver, always sewing or crocheting gifts for us, or even giving her own possessions. Personally I’ve inherited several items, for a porcelain egg to a guitar, simply because I mentioned how much I liked them. (Come to think of it, maybe I inherited her knack for getting what she wanted.) Of course I can’t talk about memaw without mentioning her feistiness and her zeal for life. She knew how to have a good time.

I was blessed to live so close to my Memaw and to even live with her for a time. Some of my favorite memories are of her taking care of me. Whether it was coming to my defense when the older kids would pick on me (yes, I’m talking about you Mariah 🙂 ) or when I got older and she would pick me up from school when I had migraines, I always knew she was there for me. One of my favorite memories is the year when I was sad that I couldn’t afford Christmas gifts for my friends, so my Memaw helped me sew a gift for each of them. That’s the kind of grandmother she was. My sisters and cousins tell similar stories. While Memaw helped me through migraines, my younger sister talks about how Memaw helped her through puberty, with words of wisdom and lots of Advil. There were so many of us grandchildren, but Memaw took the time to give us exactly what we needed.

My Memaw had 8 kids, 29 grandkids and 27 great grandkids, and yet she still made me feel special and loved. Now there’s a slight possibility that I wasn’t really Memaw’s favorite…but she would make me feel like it. I’ve heard the same from a lot of people — how sweet she was to them, how special she made them feel. I’m pretty sure I inherited some of Memaw’s feistiness and ability to tell it like it is, and I know I inherited her love for music, but in the end, it’s her ability to make everyone feel loved and accepted that I hope to pass on. In a big family, it’s easy to get overlooked, but I always knew that wherever Memaw was, I was welcome there, and she would be happy to see me. I’m looking forward to seeing her again in Heaven one day. Just like it’s been all my life, I know she’ll welcome me there, and she’ll be so happy to see me.