Saturday, December 27, 2008

Louise O'Connor

In case you haven't found out my deep, dark middle name is Louise. PLEASE don't go telling everyone. I hate it...really. And on a side note, I still can't figure out why they didn't get it to Jessica (Lauren, btw), who was the firstborn girl. 

Today, I love my middle name. I am named after Louise O'Connor, my faith-ful, amazing Grandmother. She will be 90 years old in just a few short days. She may not live much longer- since she has cancer. She doesn't want to live any longer, and Lord help-me, I don't blame her. She's been miserable for 6 or 8 years since he husband died. 

Jess, Anna-Jane and I went to Columbia today to visit her for Christmas. I am so thankful for the heart Jesus gave me for her today. Bless her, you have to YELL at the top of your lungs while having a "normal" conversation for her to be able to hear you. It's hard. If I couldn't barely see or hear either, I would hate it too. We spent awhile talking, and Anna-Jane played the violin some, to break up the awkwardness a bit. We went to lunch with Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Joe, and then came back to visit her once more before heading back to Charlotte. What I will remember most, is sitting on the floor next to her chair before leaving, and holding her hand, while speaking truth into her life. The same truth she's been speaking into my life all these years. That girl's grip was as tight as it could ever be. She was loving on me, and I was loving on her. I held her head in my heads, and kissed her soft cheek, and then said "I love you, and am so thankful for you as my grandmother. I am blessed to have had you praying over my life all this time, and I'm going to be praying for you each day. I'll pray for your strength, and health, and comfort." She just looked at me back, and said "I've been praying for you Karen. I'm going to try to keep praying for you." She can barely speak, hear or see, but she still has a servant's fervant heart of prayer. Bless her, Lord. 

My other favorite memory of her growing up is letting her fix me lunch as a kid. She'd fix me my ten-year only lunch time meal- peanut butter and honey sandwhiches. She would cut the crust off, and give it to me on her brown plates. It was SO delicious. I'd sit on her stool, next to her kitchen counter, and eat while watching the daily Days of Our Lives show she loved so much. Then, Jessica and I would head back to her room and watch Nickelodeon on her bedroom tv. Sweet memories I have of her. All sweet. All loving, and faithful praying. All true. I can't think of one bad memory of her. 

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

I l-o-v-e-d Christmas this year. I mostly enjoy the sweet family-time we get. It's highly unusual for Jessica and me to be in our parents' house together, so it is such a treat. I wasn't exactly sure how this year would go. I was coming home for a whole week...yes, I'm so grateful to be out of the office for a freakin weekend baby (two really)! Anna-Jane was the only one getting any real presents. And, the brother and his wife were not heard from in awhile. 

The Christmas tree ended up being pretty dang full for the "crisis" we were supposed to be in individually. My favorite part was watching mom open her "designer jeans" I got her, and knowing that I was able to bless her with several articles of clothing. She's gonna look hoottttt.

My dad wrote me SUCH a good letter. He's notorious for writing letters...and normally we make fun of him for it...but it really is how he gets all of his thought out, and this letter was PRICEless. Seriously! I could've cried for days...and, I probably will when I dare to open it again. 

To top it off, we had the sweetest family prayer I think we've ever had. I can't remember the last time we had a tear-jerking, get on your knees, I need some LARGE help from Jesus prayer. I always cry when I pray....I guess I mess up some much, and when I get on my achy knees before the Lord, I am reminded of His never-ending grace, and his amazing faithfulness. It was truly a sweet moment with our Provider. I'm believing he WILL provide. Amen.

I pray that Jesus is your focus today, and every day. Really. It's hard in our hustley-bustley lives that we walk in. It's DEFINITELY hard during this present-centered holiday that we create. It's hard period. But he is worth our attention. He deserves it. And if we turn our focus a little bit each day, we won't have to work so hard during Christmas, to remember the reason for the season. Like Pastor Livingston said, it's hard to just talk about the Christmas story- Jesus' birth, when that is only a small piece of the puzzle. Jesus dying perfectly, to save our sorry butts and His Grace should also be talked about and remembered. Without that full picture, we aren't gaining the whole aspect of what we should be thankful for. 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Spirit...thanks for coming

I am FINALLY in the Christmas spirit, officially.

Last night I decided to dig through my guest bedroom closet to find my medium sized fake Christmas tree. Fake, you ask? Yes. I's not the're right. But, when you work 12 hours a day, and are hardly home on the weekends, plus home for a week for Christmas, you would agree that a fake tree is better than a burnt-down home. I still need to find the ornaments and other decorations to hand. I also put a small, already-lit tree on my bar overlooking my kitchen and den. It's perfect!

Today at work, we took an hour out to build some christmas themed bookshelves for kids in need. This week we've built over 3000! It was so fun....the room smelled like Christmas. It was decorated with a tree and light and lots of other holiday decor. Then, in the (loud) background we had some fun Christmas music playing.

We also had our IPR (Inventory Planning & Replenishment) department Christmas party today. It's a bit early, and lame to have it during the day if you ask me...but that's Home Depot for you. I'm used to going to someone's house or to a nice restaurant with the team, and exchanging real presents. Not so here. I'll deal. BUT, we did eat really yummy (thanksgiving-ish) food for lunch, which later almost put me in a coma at work. And we had an elephant gift exchange. At the end, they asked us to look under our chair for numbers. I had one! Although i was last, number 18, I was able to pick from the blow-up, LED lit, christmas decorations. I was kinda bummed, because being last there was nothing left. Now, after a few hours, my treats have grown on me. I got an LED gingerbread woman, which is now hanging on the side of my cube with an orange Home Depot apron. And I also got a tipsy, topsy, Dr-Suess-looking lit set of boxes. It's actually super cute.

I'm so truly happy toady. No, joyous. That's what the Christmas holiday brings for me. Joy. I really contemplate often how thankful I am for my circumstances, friends, job, family etc. And I'm thankful that everyone else is thankful and normally in a sweet mood (except for at a mall, lol).

Merry Christmas! It's not too far away anymore.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thankful Thursday- For my Birthday

Today I'm hitting 2 posts in one- Thankful Thursdays and Thanks for Making my Birthday Fun.

So, in case you're out of the loop, I turned the BIG 2-5 on Tuesday. Tuesday! ...of all days my big birthday could be on (there were 6 others to choose from), it had to fall on a lame, working day. Although I was gearing up for a lame, working day Birthday, I was very surprised.

First, I woke up (super tired, since I didn't sleep well) to a voicemail left at 6:30 am from my Mom, Dad and Anna-Jane. Priceless. They were all singing happy birthday to me. It was great.

Then, I hit work, late as usual. I had a meeting with my buyer and her/my assistant and they both brought my flowers and a card. We mostly socialized through the meeting, instead of actually getting work done. When i got back to my desk, I had an email from my manager asking where I wanted to go for lunch and that it would be "on him." Sweet! Of course I chose my favorite restaurant here, one that is still too expensive to spend lunch on- Houstons! Breaded chicken tenders with the best cole slaw and skinny fries- HERE i come! Oh it was delish. After lunch we had a department wide meeting where they had cupcakes (not for me, but I can pretend) and they made me lead the Home Depot cheer. Not so much fun, but laughable. I basically only did a little bit of work Tuesday.

Once I got home, I rolled up to Fedex and UPS boxes on my porch. Yay! Presents. I was confused at first, trying to remember what my latest Ebay purchase was and if this was the time it'd be arriving. I looked at the addresses, and didn't recognize any of them. Not to mention, one was in a Blackberry Verizon box. I said to myself "SHUT UP!, did someone buy me a blackberry!" ...then it hit me that these were birthday presents. I'm dumb. But it was funny. My brother, who I never talk to, called me soonafter, acting as a recruiter from Lowe's. He said he wanted to bring me back to Charlotte, and take me away from Home Depot. I bought it, for half a second, before I asked who it was and where they were calling from. He said it was so-and-so from DC...and then I knew it was him. It was really great talking to him.

To end the night, I ate with all of my friends (15 showed up!) at Cracker Barrell. I know it sounds a bit lame, for a birthday dinner, but when my friend Katie mentioned it a week before, I couldn't get the yumminess of the food out of my mind. And OH was it Yummy! Pictures to come. What was so great is that a) someone paid for my dinner. So nice! and b) Gina and Jonathan bough chocolate cake for everyone, and gave me 3 separate red velvet cupcakes from the best cake place here in Atlanta. It was SO cute. She knew red velvet is my favorite cake, but I told her it wasn't a crowd pleaser, and to get something everyone would like. She surprised me. It was so sweet!

I realize this is a long post, but there is SO much more I could say about this birthday. I really TRULY loved it, and everyone who participated in it with me. More to I like to have a birthday "month" I can celebrate in Charlotte, Atlanta, and everywhere else.

Love you all!