We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nov. 2010, "I'm Thankful for: "

    "In the past, I have talked about how being thankful is an attitude. An attitude that we should adopt. We need to strive to be 'the glass is half full' type of people.  Having a thankful attitude creates a far more positive outlook / perspective on life, thus drastic improving our 'coping with life' skills."

     The things I listed as being thankful for, during our
           "2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge :

Nov. 1st - "Thank-you God, for loving me, and for having put actions to your words (of love) over and over again in my life. I am ever so thankful!!!!"
Nov. 2nd - "My freedom as an American citizen to vote."
Nov. 3rd - "I am very thankful that I don't have to adapt on a regular basis. Thank you Lord for the 'creature comforts' you have provided us in our home!!!!"
Nov. 4th - "The fact that my husband is not only my husband, but he is also my friend."
Nov. 5th - "The fact that friendships are not regulated or restricted by things such as the following examples."
Nov. 6th - "The fact that God granted me my hearts desire and allowed me to be a mom."
Nov. 7th - "I am very very thankful that God chose to have me be born during the current time period, with all of the 'modern conveniences'/ 'creature comforts' we have in our home."
Nov. 8th - "I am ever so glad that I have friends!!! You have chosen to like me. WOW! I am so-o-o-o thankful!!!"
Nov. 9th - "Being raised in a home by two parents, who loved one another"
Nov. 10th - "Living in the State of Michigan".
Nov. 11th - "The people whom have served (and are serving) in the various military branches of the United States." "I personally know many whom have previously served. I also know a lot whom currently are. To both sets - I say THANK-YOU!!! Thank-you for willingly participating in going up against the evil political type powers in this world, to fight for the freedoms of the rest of us. I salute you!!!!!"
Nov. 12th - "The fact that God gave me cooking and baking as hobbies / interests."
Nov. 13th - "Music. o/~ "
Nov. 14th - "That God also allotted me the honor and privilege of becoming a grandma :->!!!
Nov. 15th - "The advances that modern medicine has made!"
Nov. 16th - "The fact that we now have U-Verse TV."
Nov. 17th - "Being 'gifted' with creativity."
Nov. 18th - "Brian. My husband. He loves me! And for that, I am very very thankful!!!
Nov. 19th - "Having been born with good eye sight."
Nov. 20th - "I'm thankful for the 'make your taste buds smile, edible type' of pie.
Nov. 21st - "The honor, privilege and fun I have in being an Aunt."
Nov. 22nd - My bed. " Lord, thank you for the luxury of a comfortable bed!"
Nov. 23rd - "Having been 'gifted' with an active imagination."
Nov. 24th - "Food. Delicious, "oh this is g-o-o-d! ", taste buds tantalizing, food." (this one also included a quote from Brian's Face-book page, as well as, "Twas The Night Of Thanksgiving" )
Nov. 25th - "
my thorns"
Nov. 26th - asked a question about thankfulness
Nov. 27th - "
The fact that I am not like everybody else."
Nov. 28th - "Our 'creature comforts' called pets!
Nov. 29th -  "Thank-You God for your amazing wondrous love for me. WOW!!!!"
Nov. 30th - "Humor"

      In the original posting about this challenge, I had mentioned the quote our eldest son had used as his high school Sr. quote. I had later said, that I was very thankful for humor!
The other night he sent me a text message (which he then posted on his Face-book page) of a different take on that quote:
"your mother doesn't see half empty or half full, she sees a potential mess that needs cleaned".  I tell ya, "I get no respect". But I do get love. And humor. And I am thankful for both!!!

Often in coping with "life" you have two choices, you can cry and/or lose your sanity - or - you can find a way to laugh.
     Now true, sometimes your crying while your laughing. And sometimes while laughing you do question just how sane you really still are .... But the old saying that "laughter is the best medicine" holds a boat load of truth. And it's a HUGE boat!! ;-p

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You might also enjoy these postings on the subject of Blessings:

- -
o/~ "Count your blessings, name them one by one,... o/~

- - o/~ "Be thankful for the good things that you've got,... o/~

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this concludes this years "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge.

Will we do it again next year?  You'll have to come back then and see ... o;-p

But for now, we would like to thank those who took the challenge with us:
DeAnna from Coffee On The Table

Cate from Call Me Cate

'my' Kate, via her Facebook page

Martha (MM) from Meandering - Martha
Katy Lin  from The Great Adventure


(Be-lated) Nov. 29th - "I'm Thankful for: "

    On Nov. 1st, I had shared that I was Thankful for the fact that God loved me. I had also admitted, "I am a sinner (wasn't sure all of you knew that o;-p)"  What I hadn't gone into detail about, was just how much God does love me. And you. God loves each and every single person ever created. And His love for all of us (and them) is deep. Passionately so. Not the sexual type of passion, mind you. But a deep burning love type of passion. That type that He willingly and knowingly took action on our behalf for.
    Last week was Thanksgiving, so we are now in to the Christmas season. There is a reason that word begins with the word 'Christ'. As many put it, Christ is "the reason for the season". Christmas is actually a huge celebration of Jesus birth. Who else has birthday parties that the stores start stocking for six months before the date? ;-p
    Around Christmas, you do hear a whole lot about "the Christian version" of the holiday. To the point that a lot of people have taken great measures to try to remove that "influence" from our society.
    There is a lot of coolness about Christ coming as a baby. But the really wondrous part is that He came as a baby, knowing full well how his earthly life would end. Knowing that His eventual death would create the holiday we call Easter. Easter, where there isn't as much "Christian influence" evident every where. With out Christmas, Easter could not have happened. Without Easter, our sinfulness would have kept us separated form God. For eternity! There is a lot to celebrate about Easter! And also about Christmas. All in all, the real roots for both of them often just boggles my mind.

    The reason that Christ came to this earth, was so that He could eventually die. THAT death, the resulting shedding of His blood, was the only way that we could become 'qualified' to enter Heaven once our earthly bodies die.

    Christ loving me that much, that He willingly endured that much pain and torture for my sake, is just mind boggling.

    Earlier in this 'series' (challenge), I talked about how I am thankful that Brian is not only my husband, but also my friend. And sometimes the fact that he still wants to be my friend, these just shy of *34 years later, is mind boggling to me. And yet it's also thrilling. And heart warming.
    [ *34 years as friends - 30 1/2 years as husband and wife.]
   A different time I had written about Brian as my husband. And his still choosing to love me, all these years later. Sometimes I see plenty of reasons why he shouldn't. But he does. His quote to me, "I loved you before. I love you today. And I'll love you tomorrow. Period!"  While I'm not always sure why he does, I am very thankful that he does!!!
   In another posting in this 'series' (challenge), I talked about how I am WOWED by people whom chose to be my friend. And many of them have been friends for a r-e-a-l-l-y long time (but no, that does not then mean we are 'old'!! ;-b). The fact they they are my friends because they want to be, I find amazing. And thrilling. And heart warming.
    Then there is the fact that while I KNOW God purposely did not make me like everybody else,  sometimes how 'different' I am (at least in my own perspective), makes me question why He would chose to love "ME" !

    But He does. God LOVES me. And He loves you too. Just as much! So much so that He willingly died in order to rescue us from our own sins. That folks, is amazing!!! That is thrilling!! That is something for which I am ever so thankful for!!!!!! !!!!
    Not only did God die and offer me "salvation", He offered it "free of charge".
   - There is no 'small print' on the 'contract'.
   - There is no 'limited time' on His offer. Well, that is, our time to accept His 'free of charge' offer is limited to the time we are alive here on this earth (and we all aware, whether we like to think on it or not, that we do not know how long that really might be). Or, until He chooses to end the world as we know it. That event comes connected with "the Rapture" (which is talked about in the Bible's book of Revelation, and we posted some about it in THIS posting).
   - There is no way that we can 'earn' our salvation. The Bible is very clear on this. "Not by righteous works which you have done.... " That does not mean that we aren't suppose to do good works. It just means that no matter how many we might do, THEY are not able to earn us His free gift of 'salvation'. ('Salvation' essentially means forgiveness of/for our sins.)

   Then, God not only offered it 'free of charge', He also offered it TO ME. Me, personally. God did so because He wants to have a relationship with ME.
   Again, this is not referring to a sexual type of relationship. Rather, it's about the deepest of friendships. The type of friendship where you truly love the other, and "sex" NEVER enters the equation.
   - God wants to "walk and talk with us". He knows all about us, and yet He still wants us to share that information with him. You know how sometimes you know this or that about somebody, and yet when they open up and share that information about themselves it means that your friendship has passed over even more barriers/walls? THAT is the type of relationship God wants with us! Amazing!
   - And He wants us to read His Bible so that we learn more and more about Him. (If you don't have a Bible in your own home, then we recommend you go to a public library and use one of theirs. For those of you whom haven't had lots of experience with the Bible, we would recommend the NIV version. It's written more in lines with the language we use today.)
   - Another aspect about God offering it to me personally, is that means that we do not have to go through anybody else to get to Him. Not another human. Not His mother. Nobody else. He wants us to have a relationship with HIM!  WOW!

    If my earthly life were to end tonight, I KNOW for a fact that I would then be in Heaven. Do you? Is this something that is on your own "I'm Thankful for: " list?   If not, or if your not totally sure, P-L-E-A-S-E scroll down to the picture at the very bottom of our blog site, and use your Bible (or borrowed Bible) and look up all of the references listed there in for yourself. Yes, it really is THAT important!!!
    Thank-You God for your amazing wondrous love for me. WOW!!!!

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar.

(Be-lated) Nov. 28th - "I'm Thankful for: "

    Our "creatures" whom give us 'comfort'.
    In the Nov. 7th posting about "the 'modern conveniences'" type of 'creature comforts' that we have in our home (such as stoves, refrigerators, etc.), I told you about how after I had posted the Nov. 3rd posting, about our homes 'creature comforts' (such as having a furnace, and running water, and electricity, etc.), Jill Roed. had sent us a comment saying, that when she had read the words 'creature comforts', she had thought I was going to be writing about our pets. ;-p
    Jill (and every one else) this one IS about our pets. ;->
    The very first pet our little family had, was a gerbil. We named him "Shreddaskal" (combination of shredder and rascal). Yes, he had originally been one of our sons (Benson to be precise) classroom pets, that came home with us during one of the breaks, and then permanently once the school year ended.
    He loved to interact with us! If we were up close to the cage talking to him, he would play hide-n-seek through the different holes in the McDonalds type, cardboard beverage carry trays, which he absolutely loved to climb all over and then shred up. Or if we had given him an empty cardboard toilet paper or paper towel roll, he would charge through them, we swore he was racing his own time speeds! Eventually, they too would get shredded.
    There were even times when HE would tap on the glass trying to get us to pay attention to him. Comical!!! ;-p

    Our next pet also came via one of Benson's classrooms. This time it was a Guinea pig, which we named "fluffy". Oh how Fluffy could squeak with excitement! ;-p!  Like the times, after all of the boys were down for the night, that dad would take him out of his cage and allow him to run back and forth along the back of the couch between us. Silly critter!  Or the times that he was allowed to roam free and play on the front porch with Benson, while Benson was out there taking over the whole porch building cities. Fluffy didn't always stay on his assigned paths to navigate - and then he heard about it! ;-b Or when Brian would bring the left over salad home from a catering job, and we slowly fed it to Fluffy. You know those hard sections most of us don't like to find in our salads? He squealed in delight over them!!! Fluffy never realized that he was "only" a guinea pig!  And that made him fun!

    I'm pretty sure that our fish bowl and contents originally came via a classroom too, but I'm not positive on that one. But we did have fish. And we did buy fish. Several times. And then we caught on to the fact that the reason so many of the fish we bought kept disappearing, was due to one of the now large sized gold fish eating them. Gee-sh! We also learned that the algae eaters were well worth their cost!!! That is, until they too evaporated. But thankfully they did manage to survive for a long time.
    While we did not allow the fish to be removed from the bowl/tank ( something the now humongous gold fish must have had problems with, seeings how after a few years of tank living, he jumped out one night ....) the boys did find them entertaining anyways.

    And for eighteen years Rascal was a part of our lives. Very much so! He always considered himself more of a puppy than an A-typical cat. He loved to inter-act with us. He insisted that we not 'ignore' him!!! And when we had been gone for what he considered to long of a period of time, he would cling to the leg of his chosen capture (usually Benson, but not always) thus assuring himself of at least one person staying home.
    We had gotten his front claws removed after the time while we were sitting at the table eating and Brandon had suddenly started howling and trying to stand, and howling.... Rascal had chosen his bare leg (due to wearing shorts) to try to climb to get up where he could be with us (which was NOT allowed!).
    And we had had him neutered. Brian had carried him into the vets. A fact which Rascal took a l-o-n-g time to forgive!! ;-p
    When we had brought him home from the barn, he was barely old enough to leave his mother, and he was so small he fit in one of Brian's hands. But he grew. And he grew! At his end, his head kind of over filled Brian's hand. And to the end, he lived up to his name. He was a Rascal!!! We still miss him!

    Two years ago Brent added Boo to our lives. Boo is a dog. A mix of a black lab and a Rottweiler. And before he'd been taken to the pound, his previous owners had abused him. So he entered our lives at the age of eight months old, with a LOT of meanness showing! Every day Brent got warned that we weren't sure if we were going to allow him to keep Boo.
    My brother Craig (along with others) claims that Boo is a huge case in point of what a difference loving and nurturing a dog can make!!! He is so-o-o different than he was when we originally got him. (Excuse me, when Brent originally got him o;-p) He's such a cutie! And a charmer! And so full of character! Oh man is he! He gets us laughing so hard, so often!!! Silly dog! ;-b

     I am indeed thankful for our 'creature comforts' called pets!

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You might also enjoy these postings (from our old blog site) about our pets.
{ For previous postings from this blog site - check our archives list, under "Boo" and "Rascal".}
[And yes, there are probably more (actually a lot more) postings back there about our pets .... someday I'll track them
all down.]

Aug. 21st, '05 - Night vision - Rascal, yes, Mom, no. (the first section of that posting)

Feb. 8th, '08 -
Our house was used on a time share basis between Rascal and Boo.

Feb. 11th - '08 - (the very last paragraph of that posting) the lump under our covers .

March 25th, '08 - at the second  "~"  Boo and our pizza delivery.
                         at the fifth "~" Boo playing with Brent ;-p

May 26th, '08 - Boo and the 'beggar' at our door

Dec. 15th, '09 - (first section of that posting) Boo and the TV remote control

Dec. 23rd, '09 - Analyse and Boo ;-p

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar.

(Be-lated) Nov. 27th - "I'm Thankful for: "

   The fact that I am not like everybody else.
   (Hey, who just said, "that's an understatement!!!" ?  o:-> )
    There are two different aspects to this 'thankful for' point.

    First off, what if everybody really was completely like everybody else?
  - there would be no fun in 'people watching'!
  - Buffets wouldn't need to carry quite such an array of food, cause everybody would like the same stuff.
  - You wouldn't get good chuckles while looking at clothing in store windows or on racks, there would be no marketability to making those items any more.
   But which one of us would everybody be like?!?
  - While I do have some good qualities, I also admit that I have my faults. Faults that I am positive every body should not have!
  - And I am very analytical (who said "overly so"?!?! o;-p) But that wouldn't be needed as much if we were all exactly like one another.
  - And I am quite in touch with reality (not always fond of it, mind you, but in touch with it never-the-less). But what a weird reality it would be if we were all totally alike!
  - And I am very logical. A trait that I think a lot of people should strive to adapt. o;-) But that still doesn't make me "the perfect specimen".
  - So while I have good traits, no, everybody should not be just like me! But the fact is, I can't think of anybody that we should all be exactly like. The fact is, I can think of some people we all should strive hard not to be like!!!
  - Therefore, I am very thankful that we are not all exactly alike!

    Secondly, I am glad the God chose to have me be "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139). As well as how he "gave each of us different gifts" (Bother, I can't think of that reference right now, and my eyes definitely can not handle flipping pages looking for it :-[ ). "To some He gave the gift of...., and to others..., "
     In previous 'thankful for' postings, I have mentioned a few of the 'gifts' I have been blessed with. Things such as, 'cooking and baking', 'creativity' and 'active imagination'. Like I mentioned then, I know that not everybody has those gifts. I am thankful that I do. But that also means that others have gifts that I do not. And I am happy for them as well. In part, because just like some friends enjoy me using my gifts for their benefit, I enjoy others using their own gifts for my benefit!  And also because that means that everybody does have 'gifts'!

   Yes, there have been many a time that I haven't really been thankful for being 'different' from others. It does have it's challenges! Then again, I think in great part the challenges arise due to how man kind tries to make everybody be like one another. I am so thankful the God created us all different. He did not intend for all to us to fit in the same little box, or to come out of the cookie cutter exactly the same, even though he did only use two cookie cutters - a male one and a female one. He created us all different from one another on purpose. That means he meant to. That means we aren't all suppose to be a-like!!! "Praise the Lord and pass the chocolate!!!"  o;-p

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You might also enjoy this posting about me being 'different':

 Dec. 31st, '05 - I am a "free spirit"  

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar.

(VERY Be-lated) Nov. 10th - "I'm Thankful for: "

     Living in the State of Michigan.
     My parents moved us here right when I was turning five (5). From then until well into my high school years, we traveled "back home" often. Early on in the history of those trips, that drive "back home" took a good six and a half hours, in great part due to the fact that a lot of the highway systems between here and there, had not yet been built. Therefore, we saw a lot of Indiana country side while en-route. ;-p
     Shortly after we were married, Brian looked into a job possibility in the State of Texas.
While Indiana is quite a bit different than most of Michigan, Texas is a whole lot different!!! Now true, I have never personally been to Texas, so my view is based on information gathered from other sources. But I do remember some things about it from studying all of the United States back in school geography days. And things I've seen in magazines and on news reports. And things Nate M. told us about it. o;-p 
     And while both Indiana and Texas have good things about them that Michigan does not have, I never the less am very thankful that I grew up in and still live in, the state of Michigan.

   Things about Michigan that I like so much:
       (yes, those other two states, as well as many others, have some of these features too. I just love Michigan's version of them. o:-> )

 - Michigan usually fully has all four seasons. In great splendor. To full effect.
   Now true, there are occasional years where it seems like we only get two days of true spring like weather, and then it goes straight into a summer of extreme high heat and humidities that never seem to break. But usually we have beautiful, story book quality springs, that are oh so beautiful and soul comforting after our long cold winters.
    And sometimes our falls do a rush job and allow the cold bitter north wind to take over long before it should, thus shortening the beauty we most often get to experience during the fall season. Michigan has beautiful fall seasons!!!
    Our summers usually have lots of good days for going to the beach, or on a picnic, or any other fun summer time activities.
    And most often, our winters have more than enough days for the snow skiers and snowmobilers and toboggan runners to enjoy those activities.
    Michigan definitely experiences each and every one of the four seasons to the full extent.

  - While traveling in Michigan, you seldom see far across "flat" land, because Michigan is full of hills and dales! Some of the hills are small. But others are far from small. And some of the medium sized (also know as "good sized") hills, have this tendency to grow - while your trekking back up them, hoping to slide down on an inner tube, on the snow, yet again. o;-p

  - In this state, you are never more than six miles (I believe the saying goes) from a body of water. We have millions of streams. Thousands of rivers. Thousands of 'ponds'. And literally hundreds of lakes!!
     A lot of the rivers are good for canoeing on. You can choose ones like the White River, which are very mellow and thus easy maneuvering. Or you can pick one similar to some of the branches of the Pere Marquette, which while they aren't any wheres near the equivalent of Colorado's white water rafting rivers, they never-the-less do have rapids and sharp bends, etc. .
    And the high majority of the ponds are wonderful swimming spots. Some are even good for fishing, due to being fed by a river.
     And oh do we have lakes! We have small lakes. We have medium sized lakes. We have large lakes. We have huge lakes. And then we have all five of the 'Great Lakes'! :-)

  - While due to fully experiencing all four seasons, there are certain types of crops that don't grow well here, Michigan still does host a huge variety of naturally grown product! From apples and pumpkins, to asparagus and blueberries, and even a short span of strawberries. And m-a-n-y other things as well. Yummy things! Things that you can often pick up while on a country drive at road side stands. Besides at farmers markets, or the grocery store.

   - Michiganders are the only ones that can easily show somebody where with in the state we live, by holding up our hand and pointing at it. We are "the glove state". Some  Michiganders live in the "thumb area", some up near the point, some down along the cuff, and some along the pinkie side. Many others live someplace in between, which while not as easily described, is still easy to point out! And then there are those for whom it takes both hands to show our state. The right hand, turned backwards, fingers held together but thumb sticking out. And the left hand held front wards, fingers held together, thumb sticking down. The left hand signifies the lower peninsula, the left hand signifying the upper peninsula. 
     And yes, we have our own names dubbed to those whom live in each of the peninsula's. o;-p

     I am so-o-o thankful that I live in the state of Michigan!

[Yes, this is very *belated. Go HERE if you want to know why.]

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar.

Monday, November 29, 2010

(Be-lated) Nov. 25th - "I'm thankful for: "

       ""Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your... rainbow look much more brilliant.""   

      Brian had posted the above on his Face-book page, on Thanksgiving day. It is a section of a story titled "THE BLESSING OF THORNS", which "Mikey's Funnies" had sent out the day before (Nov. 24th, 2010).
     "Mikey's Funnies"  is a clean humor email list, sent every weekday and is generously hosted by Agathon Group, website development and hosting with a ministry heart: http://www.agathongroup.com/
     To subscribe or change your email address: http://www.mikeysFunnies.com/sub/.
     "Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want. And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it! www.mikeysFunnies.com"

     Now, go back and re-read the first paragraph. Both thought provoking and challenging, huh?!!!

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas directory

      And so the Christmas hoop-yah (excuse me - festivities o;-p) begins ..... 

      Seriously though - May you not succumb to the stress of the season, but rather may your holiday season be full of smiles, laughter and love!!!

     [ I found this picture on line years ago, no idea where, sorry!]

     Thought I'd start the season right off, by doing a directory of all of the previous subject related postings we've done, in the hopes that you will find at least one of them helpful.

Wed. Dec. 13th, 2006 - Six (6) very economical Christmas decorating ideas ;->

Sun. Dec. 17th, 2006 - to, or not to diet, during the holiday season - 2 views ;-p

Wed. Jan. 24th, 2007 - is it the cost of the gift that matters?

These next three,
while not really about Christmas, do pertain to this time of year!

Mon. Oct 22nd, 2007 - winterizing your car

Tues. Oct. 23rd, 2007 - How important is your calender for the new year?

Mon. Nov. 5, 2007 - winterizing your home

Fri. Nov. 16th, 2007 - what should Santa say?

Nov. 26th, 2007 - one of our Christmas traditions :-)

Wed. Nov. 28th, 2007 - what gift should we give to so-and-so?

Fri. Nov. 30th, 2007  - Christmas Stocking Filler Ideas

Tues. Dec. 4th, 2007 - whom all should be on our list to give gifts to?

Thurs. Dec. 6th, 2007 - (second section - ignore the ACLU part)) - "Christmas Cards"


Sat. Dec. 15th, 2007 - THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS...LEGALLY SPEAKING ( a good chuckle! ;-p)

Mon. Dec. 17th, 2007 - (second part) -"The POLITICALLY CORRECT TWELVE DAYS OF C*****MAS"

Wed. Dec. 19th, 2007 - memories of school Christmas parties

Thurs. Dec. 20th, 2007 - not everybody has the perspective that  o/~ "It's the most wonderful time of the year" o/~

Dec. 24th, 2007 - What's the 'spirit of Christmas'?

Dec. 18th, 2008 - the "WOW" factor on a budget

Dec. 28th, 2008 - Gifts of entertainment/music that I received :->

Nov. 25th, 2009 - Christmas Decorating / Thanksgiving (also talks about A.D.D. kids and these holidays)

Dec. 20th, 2009 - A Beautiful (!) Word Picture Card 

     Like I said, "May you not succumb to the stress of the season, but rather may your holiday season be full of smiles, laughter and love!!!"  And,  we "hope that you will find at least one of the (above) helpful" !  :-D

For those of you whom receive our postings via email, stop by our blog and see the holiday decorating ;-) (thus far .... o;-p)    The Bz House That Love Built 

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I 'plan' on linking this particular posting up to:

~ "Making Your Home Sing Monday('s)", are hosted by Nan, at 'Mom's the Word (I love to hear)' (http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/).
~ "Homemaker Mondays ... Yours, Mine & Ours", are hosted by Jen, at '11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven' (http://rtheyallyours.blogspot.com/).
~ "2nd Time Around Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Diane, at 'A Picture is Worth 1,000 words' (http://diane1876.blogspot.com/),
~ "Market Yourself Monday", are hosted by Sumo, at 'Sumo's Sweet Stuff' (http://sumossweetstuff.blogspot.com/)
~ "Whatever Goes Wednesday('s), hosted by Michelle, at 'Someday Crafts'

Saturday, November 27, 2010

(Be-lated) Nov. 26th - "I'm Thankful for: "

    Today I am taking a turn from the normal way I do this. Our friend Josh Emm. had posted this thought provoking question on his Face-book page, and I wanted to share it with all of you.  Feel free to answer it in our comments section!

     "if you woke up today, and only had left what you thanked God for yesterday, what would you have?"

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nov. 24th - "I'm thankful for: "

     Food. Delicious, "oh this is g-o-o-d! ", taste buds tantalizing, food.
     According to the way that I wrote that last sentence, you can tell that there are some types of food I am not really thankful for {besides just peas, Dad}. And yes, some of those foods are most likely foods that you are ever so thankful for. Therefore, I'll be generous and let you have my portion of them too o;-b.    

     I have toyed with how to write up this particular subject matter for quite some time. I was going to go this direction with it, then that, but then again maybe.... . I had already done the one about being thankful for pies, so maybe I would stick to doing this one only about the main meal part of the food categories. Then again, I could link in those postings (on our old site) I had done about Jefferson's Monticello. Or the one about how big a library would have to be, to include every families recipes for any and all dishes.
    Then earlier this week Brian posted something on Face-book that I thought I should share part of with you. And then this morning I opened an email from our friend Sharon Or. that I got quite a chuckle out of.
    So, instead of going on and on about different types of foods. I have instead chosen to share those with you. ;-) They are after all, about food. o;-p

    (I have no idea where on the web I had found this years ago. Sorry!)

     From Brian's Face-book page:
          "Everyone knows animals belong in their natural habitat,
           right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy"

    From Sharon Or. via email:
           "Twas The Night Of Thanksgiving"
    (no author was listed, so I do not know whom to give the credit to :-[ )

               (I added the very last line ...)

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov. 23rd - "I'm Thankful for: "

    Having been 'gifted' with an active imagination.
    Notice that I did NOT say, an 'overactive' imagination!!! !  There are some in my life whom have claimed that. On a regular basis. Yet another example of me having a different perspective on things than some do. o;-) !!
    On Nov. 17th, I wrote about being thankful for being 'gifted' with creativity. Let me tell you, having an active imagination aids creativity greatly!!! When you don't always see things only being usable as what they were perhaps originally designed to be used as, is a combination of both imagination and creativity. Being able to take something you have, (sometimes 'tweak' it a little) and use it for some entirely different purpose, is a very useful 'gift' to have. It also aids the budget greatly!!! Looking at things that way is just so normal for me, that I often find myself getting frustrated or annoyed with those whom don't.
    An example. Yes, you have already served this and that for meals. It does not mean that you therefore can not serve those items again. You just combine some of the ingredients from the two and come up with a totally different way of presenting them, thereby earning "Bingo!".
    Another example. You don't always have to go out and buy new. Look around at what you already have. If you combine this thing from over here, and that thing from over there, you can have them work for the general idea your going for, and thus be frugal (or a better steward of your money) about the whole thing! 
    Imagination also helps you add fun to life. In the middle of a multi-day snow storm, when you anchor blankets all of the way around your dining room table, thus creating a 'tent' and put sleeping bags inside, and read your children books by flashlight before their naps, that is using your imagination! And it adds fun to life. And it helps channel all of the energy they have not been able to get out-of-doors and run off. Bonus!!!
    Another example. Near the end of February, when you are oh-so-ready for winter to be over, and the taste of picnic foods keep coming to mind, so much so that your taste-buds are r-e-a-l-l-y longing for them, clear the middle of the living room floor, put down a plastic summer themed table cloth, turn on every light possible in the living room, close the curtains so you can't see what the weather is really doing outside, put 'Beach Boys' music on the tape or CD player, fix a couple of your favorite picnic type foods, and have a picnic right there in the middle of your living room!!! THAT's using your imagination! THAT's adding fun to life!! And THAT will help you make it through till warm weather does again return to your area!
    [For the record (of which I still have the same opinion about as I did yesterday :-o), yes, I do realize that the second sentence in the above paragraph, is an extremely long run-on sentence. The type that would have made my English teachers, as well as my 'English Major' mom, shudder. But hey, at least I used commas. :-D.  o;-p.]
    Like I said, Looking at things from an imaginative perspective is just so normal for me, that I often find myself getting frustrated or annoyed with those whom don't. Not only are they not always as frugal as they could be. But they also miss out on a whole lot of fun. And similar to what I had said about being 'gifted' with creativity, I just plain get my own version of an adrenaline high out of using my imagination . Weird? Maybe. But I honestly don't mind if I am. I ENJOY doing so!

The 2010 "I'm Thankful for: " Challenge   - if you don't know what this is, follow the lead on our side bar.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nov. 22nd - "I'm Thankful for: "

     My bed.
     First though, just for the record, yes, I do realize that a lot of other people have already listed this as one of the things they are thankful for. No, I am not trying to copy anybody. Although I personally do not mind in the least, if somebody is so in agreement with something I have listed, that they chose to list it themselves.
     Secondly, who ever it is that's keeping record on all of this .... I think your time would be much better spent doing pretty much anything else. o;-p
    Now, back to my bed....
    Actually, I have done that a LOT the last couple of years. My bed has become a welcoming refuge from the challenges my body has been putting me through. True, my body is still there with me. But sometimes, while laying on my bed, the bodies symptoms aren't as extreme. And other times, my bed has even been able to subdue them to the point of not even being noticeable. Well, at least till I get up and moving around again. But while I was in it, the bed won. Bliss!
     Just like pretty much everything else in life, different people like different types of bed's. Actually, the part I'm referring the most to, is the mattress. There are so many different types of mattress's, and there are people out there for every single different kind. Personally, I prefer that my mattress have a clue I'm on it, not be so extremely hard that your quite sure it never noticed your presence. On the other end of the scale, I don't like a mattress so soft that it literally envelopes me. And I have never been a big fan of water beds. Now that I am 'vertigo girl' (my newest dubbed title around here ;-p), water beds are out - of - the - question !!! Goodness.
     Right now it is thundering, and raining, and I'm feeling the thunder move the loose stones in my head, and the fall rain is making my allergies flare, thus making my lungs rather heavy. But never fear - my bed is near!!! :-)
     And it once again has the oh so wonderful electric mattress pad on it (HIGHLY recommend those!!!!). As well as a couple of cozy blankets. ...  . All of them are combining their voices in calling me to them ....  o;-p
     But I had intended to again attack the laundry today. And I need to make the shopping list for Thanksgiving pie ingredients. And Kate is coming by this evening :-D. ... Okay bed, I'll climb in ... but only for a brief reprieve.   ... o:-p
    Lord, thank you for the luxury of a comfortable bed!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nov. 21st - "I'm Thankful for: "

    The honor, privilege and fun I have in being an Aunt.
    Personally, I think I was a 'great' aunt from the get go. It didn't take my nephews having children of their own for me to earn that title. o;-p
    Just like how I had always wanted to be a mom, and to become a grandma, I had also highly looked forward to being an aunt.
    As you know, I have always LOVED to read books!!! And out of them I got the goals for what type of mom, grandma, and aunt I was determined to be. The books themselves weren't actual 'goal setting' books. They were mainly just fictional character story books. But fictional or not, I immersed myself into the stories between their front and back covers. And I grew a great admiration for certain types of people there-in.
    In the postings about being a mom and a grandma, I talked some about the personality and character traits I had as goals to be, for those particular positions. Some of those goals also apply to what type of an aunt I hoped to be. Things like, always making food they liked. The kind they always had fun doing things with (and thus now, as adults, they have wonderful warm memories of). The kind that the nieces and nephews knew beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this aunt loved them!  The kind who's nieces and nephews WANTED her to be an active part of their lives. The full of laughter, and hugs, warm hearted, wonderful memory making, "oh good that aunt is here", type. To be honest, I wanted to be the type of an aunt that every kid wished was their own aunt."

     My hearts desire to be an aunt did get fulfilled. :-D I've mentioned before that my siblings and I gave our parents ten (10) grandchildren in eight (8) years time. When you deduct that four of them were from Brian and I, that means that my siblings gave me six young ones to be an aunt to. Four of them are nephews. Two of them are nieces. So far, three of the nephews have married and thus provided me with three more nieces. I know - according to some people, they are JUST my 'niece-in-laws'. They (those people) are welcome to think of them in that context if they want to. But to me - they are now my nieces. PERIOD!!! :->. And so far, my nephews and nieces on that side of the family have blessed me with four young ones that I legally qualify as 'great' aunt to. Three of them as nephews, one as an aunt to. Nice!!!
    Brian only has one sibling, and his wife and him blessed us with one nephew and one niece. That rose our total to eight (8) nephews and nieces. :-)  Currently, both of them are engaged, which means that within the next year and a half, that number will rise even higher. :-)

     Did I accomplish my goals as to what type of an aunt I wanted to be / have been? You would need to question those whom call me aunt, to get an accurate answer. But I will state that I must not have failed horribly. Because of their own accord, they will come up TO ME when they see me someplace besides just at family gatherings, and of their own accord, give me hugs. Oh the wonders that does my heart!!!!! :->
    And I know that I at least, have oh so wonderful memories of doing things with and for them.
    With them: making a T-pee in the woods out of already fallen sticks and leaves one time while we were all camping together. Having all of the ones from my side of the family, plus my own children, inside our solid side pop up camper during the pouring rain, while their parents and grand parents closed up their own campers to head home (we were staying an extra day). Taking all of them to our church's pond during the summer, so they could go swimming for a few hours. They'd swim for about a half hour, then I'd supervise some activity, then they just swim again, then another activity, then they'd swim, they we'd have a snack, and on it would go, till either our time was up, or they were all looking like raisins ;-p. The activities? Who could make the biggest splash jumping off of the dock. The smallest or no splash. The silliest styled jump or dive. Attempting to walk around the perimeter of the pond without ever touching water (which meant hanging onto the fence while walking on a cement wall in one section), Etc..
     And then there are the absolutely wonderful memories from the numerous New Year's Eve overnighters we hosted. The very first one had just sort of happened. This sibling and then that sibling asked if I would be willing to watch their kids overnight, while they went to such and such events. They knew I didn't have plans, due to Brian catering other peoples parties. I had said yes, and then ended up calling the third sibling and offering to watch their children as well. I was so glad that I had! What fun we had! Some of the things we did became "traditions". Such as getting all bundled up and going out of doors late at night and lighting sparklers. And me reading stories to them. And giggling. And eating. The following year we had moved to this house, and we added the tradition of going to our sons school after breakfast and going sliding. One of my favorite pictures of my husband is of him sitting all bundled up on the schools swing set, during one of those times. ;-)
     I also have warm memories of when Brent and Hannah were young, and Hannah would spend the night. And the time Isaiah went camping with us. And hiding the Easter eggs in grandpa and grandma's basement and watching them search for them. And the one Thanksgiving when they were all much younger, painting their hands and then printing them as turkey feathers on a poster for grandma and grandpa. So many warm memories.
    And times of the nephew from the other side coming and spending a weekend or even a week at our home. How I miss those visits. Or the times of watching them swim together in that grandpa and grandma's pool. Or watching their antics (during dinner, while opening Christmas gifts, etc.) while they were attempting to hide them from that grandma so as to not get in trouble. Such silliness! Such fun! And those two too joined one of our New Years Eve overnighters. "Happy New Years Uncle Brian" continues to this day. ;-p

   Things I did FOR them: Making sure that every year all of the nephews at least got something Lego for Christmas. (trust me - they appreciated that!).  The year we made doll bunk-beds, complete with mattresses, sheets and pillows, for two of the nieces. Or the "dress-up kits" we assembled over time for all three of the nieces. What fun they had with them! I even had other girls wanting one of their own. Recipe files when they got married. "Life" files for their children.

    Yes, I am very very thankful that I have had the honor, privilege and fun of being an Aunt!

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Awww... o/~ The Sound of Music o/~ :-D

    So-o-o-o, a week ago today, I sat here and wrote a posting all about having attended the concert the night before. It took me quite awhile to do. But I worked away at it and got it ' perfect'. Your right, I didn't post it. Why not?  Here is how I explained it to my dad, sister and Kate.
    "I thourally enjoyed the concert!!!!!  Last evening I sat here and typed up a posting all about it. It took me quite a while to do, between the feeling the stones in my head move around, trying to figure out the spelling on some words, and wanting to make sure I included this, this and that 'detail'.
    Finally I had it done and was happy with it. Very much so. So I started copying it over to our blog. I copied the title and then clicked to go back to my email account to copy the body. But I had the little arrow too close to the 'close the window' button when I clicked to go back to the other screen and it closed it!!!  Grumble, grumble. I reassured my self that it was okay, it wouldn't be gone, because SBC always saves things periodically as your working on them.
    But it hadn't. I could not believe it!!! I was ever so frustrated!!! I had Benson try. He says that it's because our virtual memory (not saved memory) is too full. BOTHER!!! (challenges with a eight year old computer)
    So later today I hope to yet again try to compose the posting. grumble, grumble, grumble... I now know that I must send postings to the people whom I do first and THEN copy it over to our blog. (I'd roll my eyes here, but that makes me dizzy ;-p)"
    As you know, I did not get right back to it. I was just so-o frustrated!!!
    But neither did I 'just forget it'. HOPEFULLY, I won't run into any problems this time! ! !

For my birthday this year, Brian had bought me a ticket so I could accompany my sister to a concert. The city's Symphony where we live, was doing a concert with 'The von Trapp Children'.
    Sigh. Did I just hear someone question who 'The von Trapp Children' were?!?!??? Bigger sigh. You know that wonderful musical movie called 'The Sound of Music'? In it Julie Andrews sings the song, o/~ "The hills are a-live, with the sound of mu-sic..... " o/~. Yeah, THAT movie. The Captain and his children in the movie, were based off of the real life family called The von Trapp's.
    This past summer my sister and her husband had attended one of the symphonies 'Picnic Pops Concerts'. During the concert she had browsed through the little booklet the symphony hands out, telling about the concert your at, as well as promoting upcoming events on their schedule. She says that when she came upon the news of them doing a concert with 'The von Trapp Children", she had pointed out the information at least seventeen (17) times to her husband, each time declaring that Cheryl would LOVE to go to that. I am so-o-o glad she thought that way!!!
    I was looking forward to attending. And then I watched the movies cast reunion on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show'. I sang along. I smiled ear to ear. I switched from looking forward to going, to eagerly anticipating going!!!

    Brian both dropped us off and picked us back up from the concert. That way this vertigo girl didn't have to ride through a low ceiling-ed, winding parking ramp. Thanks again Brian!

    As I shared, it was a combined concert with both our local symphony and 'The von Trapp Children' doing different numbers. Our conductor told us that due to The von Trapp's having immigrated here from Austria, the symphonies numbers that night would be from Austrian composers. They started off with 'Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna' by von Suppe. While I liked parts of the long number, I did not enjoy it as a whole. Aw well.
    The conductor then shared that they would then be doing three polkas written by J. Strauss Jr., and that most people were unaware he had composed polkas. After hearing them, I figured that the reason most people are unaware of it, is due to his polkas not sounding anything like what I think of as polka music. ;-p
    Then 'The von Trapp Children' entered the stage. My sister commented, "I bet your thinking, "it's about time!" ;-p". She was right!!! o;-p
    They started right off with 'Do Re Mi' (I can hear you singing it ;-) ). Some of you will get this next little tidbit. As I was trying to ever so quietly sing along, I couldn't resist. At one point I leaned real close to Brenda and sang, "Ray, a guy who is a BUM!!!". Aww what tweaking can happen to songs at camp... ;-p
    We really enjoyed 'the kid's'. They came across as very real, very good natured, highly appreciating humor, type of people. One example of their humor came when the 'boy' introduced a song, stating that the composer hailed from Austria, and that he was still there, although now he was there de-composing. ;-p
   'The kid's' are three sisters and their brother. They are the great grand children of Captain von Trapp. Their grand father was Curt. In the movie, he is the son who with crossed arms declares, "I'm Curt. And I'm encorageable!" And he was too they said!!!
   'The kid's' are actually in their late teens and early twenties. Their names are, Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin. We enjoyed them so much! Both their (absolutely beautiful) singing, as well as their sharing things about themselves and their family with us.
    They had first come on stage wearing A-typical Austrian children clothing. The girls all had on mid-length skirts, which had aprons over the front. Under them they wore thick white stockings and brown shoes. Their tops were white bloucie things with buttoned vests over the top. They shared that each of the outfits were ones which had been worn by the original Maria, after the family had immigrated to America, and was traveling doing singing shows to support themselves. Cool! They also pointed out that the buttons on the eldest daughters out fit, were actually one hundred year old Austrian coins, which had been made into buttons. Amazing!
    The 'boys' outfit was also an A-typical Austrian male youth outfit. I can not begin to write the proper word for them. So I'll describe it. o;-p  The pants were light brown/tannish corduroy, ending just below the knee, knickers. He then had on thick white stockings, and brown, sort of ankle high, flat bottomed, slipper/boot/shoe things. The pants had suspenders attached to them, which went up over a very bloucie white button up shirt. He looked cute!
   ;-p They also made a point of pointing out, that no, their costumes were not made from curtains. ;-p
   During the course of the concert, they sang several songs from the movie: 'My favorite things', 'The Sound of Music', 'The Lonely Goatherd', 'Edlesweiss', 'Climb Ev'ry Mountain' and 'So Long, Fare Well, Alvidazane Good-nig-ht'. (I hear you singing again ;->).
    But they also included songs not from the movie, such as o/~  'Anything You Can Do' I can do better ... o/~ which is from the musical 'Annie Get Your Gun'. For this particular number, the older two sisters had left the stage, and it was preformed by the youngest sister and the brother. They hammed it up so nicely!!! ;-p What fun!!! The part that totally amazed and wowed the audience came, when the brother hit an ever so much higher note than that sister had been able to. W-O-W!!!
    They shared that their new singing career was due to a recording they had made for their grand father, when he had been declining in health. The 'kids' grew up in the state of Montana (with parents, neither one of which could sing!). The grand father had resided in Vermont, which is where the Captain and Maria had settled the family shortly after arriving in America. They had made him a recording of a bunch of the songs from the in-famous movie about his family, as well as some of the songs he had taught them over the years. Somebody else had heard the recording, who shared it with somebody else... who then suggested they cut a CD ("which is way harder to do than it sounds!!!"). They then began getting requests to do concerts. And then more requests. And then this became a big thing and they have even sang in different countries, including singing for the new president of Africa. Wow!
    For their grand father Curt's funeral, they had sang their rendition of 'Down to the River', which they also sang for us. Beautiful!
    Before their last two listed numbers, they did a quick costume change. The girls returned wearing full length A-typical adult female Austrian outfits. Full length shirts with aprons in the front, etc.. Very nice looking! And the brother was wearing an A-typical adult Austrian males 'suit'. He looked sharp!
     They had asked the audience  to join them in singing 'Edelweiss'. "Oh sure", Brenda said, "They say it's okay for us to loudly sing along, on the one song we're not all sure of the words for". ;-). I thought that they had probably done so on that partciular song, due to how, in the movie, when the family had sung it at their last Austrian concert, much to the dismay and displeasure of the German officials in the audience, the whole Austrian audience had joined the family in singing the song.
    Speaking of German officials. The 'kids' shared how one time the Captain and Maria had been sitting at an out door cafe' in Germany, when Hitler and a few of his men had either taken the table right next to theirs, or very close by theirs. Due to the conversations the Captain and Maria overheard, they said they wouldn't want to invite Hitler or his men into their living room, let alone to be leaders of their be-loved country!!!!
    So several months later, when the von Trapp's butler brought word that the German officials had orders to come for the Captain, the family left on a picnic into the mountains. And never returned. They had left with basically only the clothes on their backs.
    As soon as they had finished their last listed song, Brenda had us head to the exit. We were sitting in the first balcony, just left of center stage (when looking towards the stage), a ways into the row. We had originally planned on just sitting still till the place was pretty much emptied. But then we got to our seats and realized that would mean we would have to turn sideways to allow a lot of people to exit our row. Probably not a good combination with this vertigo girl! [But the seats were wonderful for seeing the stage good!!!]
    I carefully made my way past the few other people in our row, and then worked my way up the un-even stairs. One really deep step. One narrow step. One really deep step. One narrow step. 8-/. 
    Just as we were about to open the door and exit into the upper lobby, the stage broke out in music again. Oh so appropriate, von Trapp family, end of the show, beautiful music!! It had not been listed in our program, but they started singing o/~ 'So Long, Fare Well, Alvidazane Good-nig-ht'. o/~  :-D .. :-> .. :-) ..

     Yes Brian, as you 'thought I would' on the ride home, I DO want to watch the movie again!!! Very much so!!! Any of my girlfriends want to sing along? I mean, watch it with me?  o;-p

     Brenda, Thank-You (!!!) so much for thinking of me and suggesting it to Brian as my B-day gift. I really enjoyed it!!! And I also enjoyed attending it with you. ;-)

     Brian, Thank-You for again spoiling me and giving me a desire of my heart!!! I enjoyed the concert immensely!!!

     For the rest of you - 'the kid's' have recorded over six albums and a DVD. Their latest recording is entitled 'A Cuppla' (which is how they sang a few of their songs, and were amazing in the process!!!). No, I do not know who their record label is, but I have confidence in your being able to find their albums!!!
   o/~  My heart wants to sing, eve-ry word! o/~ 

p.s. -
      ;-p - it has been pointed out to me, that I missed something in the original posting.

    "One very important thing you forgot to mention was that you were able to see and wave to two very important (people) that were there also."

     o;-p - Oops......
     Our dad had let my sister and I know that he and Joan would be in attendance at the same concert, and about where their seats were to be. So Brenda tried looking for them, and spotted them. Brenda was the one doing the searching, seeings how we were standing in front of our seats, high up (not that I'm scared of heights, it just increases my balance issues 8-/) , and the fact that the people all around us were not standing still. [Quite bold of them I thought. o;-p]
      Before the concert had started, Brenda did spot them and was able to point them out to me. The thing was, both of them were ever so busy reading their little symphony brochures/booklets that it was useless to even begin and try to get their attention. We just chuckled at them.
     I think it was during intermission that we were able to get their attention and wave at them. Even they weren't all that far away really, we thought it best to not attempt going to them for hugs. Brenda was being very protective of her vertigo sister that night, and I appreciated it!!!

    There, now I've told you 'the missing important detail'. o;-)

     For the record, dad had followed up his pointing our my "error" with a "Just kidding of course!!". And he had preceded it with, "Thank you for the glowing report. I was sure you would enjoy it as much as we did." .