Monday, December 31

It's a Wrap!

At our special Christmas service, a young man named Lindsey Dominguez  took the stage to read an original Christmas poem.  His reading was preceded and followed by many impressive and inspiring performances--choirs, solos, readings, scriptures--but Lindsey alone received a spontanious standing ovation.  With a little beatboxing in the background, it could have passed for a rap, but Lindsey's unaccompanied voice and his passionate delivery captured the hearts of the entire audience, young and old.  He gave permission to post it here.  I thought it was the best way to "wrap up the year"...

The greatest challenge of any engineer,
given tool and a blank space,
is simply to create.
Like desperate ants rebuilding broken homes,
imagination and innovation run rampant.
Was it even a creation or has it always been?
So, before the architect could even pick up his pen,
a simple question makes him question the foundation:
who is the author of creation?

Before there were people scattered in every nation;
before the living oceans divided the land;
or the counting of the grains of sand;
before the depths were measured
or the mountains scaled;
before the sun was flung into space,
and the moon set to sail
on an eternal star treasure chase;
before planets were suspended from nothing,
and before a word was ever spoken,
there was something.

Within this dark unknown
lies the true place our Savior was born.
as soon as God spoke
He was given His form
for He is the Word of God,
and has always been.
He was there when she got got her name, Wisdom.
It was through this pair
that light shined into existence
and earth was given its dimensions.
Heaven, made as His dwelling place to be,
where the great Leviathan fearfully runs free;
where Love meets Faith for breakfast dates
and the Lion and Lamb enjoy dinner of honey glazed ham.

See, it was through Him
that Authority and Dominion were given their names;
that Power and Strength have stakes to claim.
It's no wonder people spoke so long of His coming
for we were in a mess,
and needed a Messiah slain.
but consider for a second the costs He had to count
to commit to pay the full price of our sins--
there was no discount--
but we often discount his sacrifice
to leave His Father and absolute perfection
to chase after an unsure election.
My vote?  Hardly worth it!
But He still decided to make the purchase.

So, by no means was the manger the birthplace of our Savior,
but rather the first resurrection of its kind,
as He showed what it meant to die to yourself for the first time.
And His name shall be Immanuel,
so the world would know
that God was among us--
every prophecy spoken would come true--
even those of long ago
would shift in their graves because they knew,
but the world did not
or, at least, chose not to.

At last the anxious artist
gets to visit an awaited artful masterpiece,
and neither regarded Him as master
nor gave Him peace.
Instead, they became masters
at carrying pieces with which to afflict the righteous,
unrecognized and unreceived--
don't be deceived!

He was indeed a man just like you and me,
humbled to the very nature of a servant
with a desire for nothing more.
No credit was given where credit was due.
Instead, they credited to His account abuse.
But little did they know
He was a financial guru
He knew for every credited abuse
He could debit at least one truth.
Complicated math taught Him
your sickness plus His cloak equals healed;
His spit plus your eyes equals see;
your sins' debt plus His sacrifice equals freed!

So, He spent himself
knowing He'd only be bought
for thirty coins and a tree.
So, our balance  sheets would always level out
because A=L+E:
Assets equal Liability plus Equity.
Translate that heavenly,
and Atonement equals Lord plus Everything!
For He is a miracle worker
and Redeemer.
He is the One and Only who rides a white horse
followed by Heaven's army.
His name IS Faithful, Compassionate, and Truth!
He is the Commander who fights for you!
He is the King who wages war,
and whose eyes are blazing fire!
He is the Unconditional Lover who loves you without tire!
He is a Comforter and sovereign to rule
Even in the midst of twenty dead children
in a Connecticut elementary school.

He is our Shepherd when there's no way out.
Seek Him first and He'll provide you with everything you need
without a doubt.
He is the Bread of Life so you'll never be hungry.
He is the teacher on how to handle your money.
He is the Alpha and Omega,
Beginning and End.
He is God's Son sent Begotten.
He is a gift to those without this season;
He is more than just a reason.
His words are more than just pleasing--
He is Life and life itself.
he is more than just a book on the shelf.
He is the depths of the seas
and the wisdom of an ant.
He is the innocence of a baby
and a storm's strong current.

Don't you get it?
He is All in All--
through all and with all!
He is the King of Kings;
the Cornerstone that supports this whole thing!
He is Lord of Lords.
From His mouth is a drawn sword--
I mean everlasting is His role call--
but more than anything,
He is Lord of All!

And if I could just step a foot
into the radius of the radiance of God's glory,
I know I'll be sustained by His and my love story.
Firstborn of all craeation,
and Firstborn from among the dead--
I hope to follow in His footsteps, as he said,
for His is Jesus Christ my Savior,
Living, not dead!

Sunday, December 30

Christmas in the Park

December 8th Poway had it's Annual Christmas in the Park.... and of course David & Holly brought Brayden down to enjoy the festivities with us. Jerry had Train duty just before Santa arrived so he was able to get Brayden on board for a ride around the Park.

Also at the Park were the local firefighters collecting donations to give Burns the Boot...  helping to send child burn survivors to camp... a great opportunity to start teaching Brayden to be giving and loving....

As much as he loves riding with Grandpa on the train, he also loved the petting zoo they had... goats and cows and chickens, oh my!

Santa finally arrived by train... but figures I didn't catch a glimpse of him... I only caught a glimpse of Brayden's darling expression as he watched in awe...

I think he's still staring at Santa...

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration!

Saturday, December 29

Pop-Up Posies

Here's another darling peak from the new Spring SU Catalog.... and SAB!!

Alot of items on this card are created with a NEW "KIT"!
Pop-Up Posies Designer Kit (Crumb Cake die, flower, brad & stamp set) along with Sale-a-bration- Sycamore Street Designer Paper and
Sycamore Street Pool Party ribbon...

Don't forget... JANUARY 26th at the Reed Ranch  ...
Be there or be square!

Friday, December 28

Happy Birthday Pam & Kendra!!!

Celebrating Pam's special day today... and Kendra follows on the 31st!!

Have a blast my dear friends!!

Thursday, December 27

Sale-a-bration Sneak Peek!

You are getting the chance to see a sneak peek at some of the new products coming up in the Spring Catalog & Sale-a-bration Flyer. 
I'll be hosting a SAB event January 26th... more details to follow.. so mark your calendars now!! 

First of you notice the silver center piece? 
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! 
This is one of our new Soda Pop Tops. 
They come in 2 different sizes in the pkg (8 each). 
A Little Greeting (NEW)
cardstock:  Night of Navy, Very Vanilla
Sycamore Street Designer Paper (NEW- Sale-a-bration)
flower:  created with the Pop-Up Posies Designer Kit (NEW) 
supplies:  Big Shot, Soda Pop Top (NEW),Vintage Trinkets, In Color Dahlias, Jewelry Tag punch, Victoria Crochet Trim, Denim Jean Ribbon, dimensionals, glue dots

I am sooo eager to get stamping again!!!

Wednesday, December 26

New Arrivals on SU Clearance Rack

No need to leave the house to get some fantastic bargains.... many items are 80% off at Stampin'Up's on-line Clearance Rack...


Click here to go to  Stampin' Up shopping website ~ appreciate it if you designate me as your SU Demonstrator !
Over 300 new retired and discontinued items were added last week, and while some of them are already sold out, there are still plenty of things to get for fantastically cheap prices!

Here are just a few of the crazy-good deals to be had:
  • Designer Series Fabrics for .99 cents
  • various albums for 4.39
  • Designer Series 12x12 paper packs for 2.19
  • Big Shot dies for eight bucks!
  • old-style ink pads for 2.39 each
  • Smooch accent inks for 1.99
  • lots of punches including triple-layer punches
  • Powder Pal tray set for just 7.99
  • SnowBurst embossing folder for just 3.19
Lots of new products have been added to the Stampin' Up line this winter! Talking Tags smartphone labels, our new Stampin' Trimmer paper cutter, the Holiday Packaging bundles and the new Fancy Friends pre-cut cards and stamping kit are amongst a few of the fun new introductions to the SU family.

Happy Shopping!!

Monday, December 24

'Twas 11 Days Before Christmas

Twas eleven days before Christmas
Around nine-thirty eight
When 20 beautiful children
stormed heaven's gate

Their smiles were contagious
Laughter filled the air
Could hardly believe the beauty
that everyone saw there

They were filled with such joy
They didn't know what to say
Remembered nothing  that happened
earlier that day

"Where are we?" asked a little girl
As quiet as a mouse
"This is heaven" said a boy
"We're spending Christmas in God's  house!

When what to their wondering eyes did appear
But Jesus, their  Savior,
The children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled
They smiled just the same
Then He opened his arms and called them each by name

And in that moment of joy
Only heaven can bring
Those children flew
Into the arms of their King

And as they lingered there
In the warmth of His embrace
A small girl turned  and
Looked into His face

As if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered,
"I'll take care of Mom and Dad"

Then He looked down to earth
To the world far below
He saw all the hurt, the sorrow, the woe.

He closed His eyes and outstretched His hand,
"Let my Power and Presence re-enter this land"

"May this country be delivered
from the hands of fools
I'm taking back the nation
I'm taking back the schools"

Then He gathered them all
Without making a sound
"Come now my children
I'll show you around"

Excitement filled the air
Some skipped and some ran
Displaying enthusiasm
only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim
as He walked out of sight
“In all this darkness
Ana Grace Marquez-Greene died in the shootings while her older brother Isaiah, also at the school, escaped harm. She is the daughter of jazz musician and teacher Jimmy Greene, 37, and his wife Nelba Marquez Greene.
"She never walked anywhere," the family said in a statement Sunday evening. "Her mode of transportation was dance."<br><br>-- <i>Donna Larcen, Owen McNally, Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Ana Marquez-Greene's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
Emilie Parker was a "bright," avid artist who acted as a mentor to her 3- and 4-year-old sisters, her father, Robbie Parker, recalled Saturday.
"Emily's laughter was infectious and all those who met her would agree this world is a better place because she has been in it," Parker, 30, told reporters in Newtown. "She was beautiful; she was blond, always smiling. She was the type of person that could just light up a room."
Emilie taught her younger sisters to read, dance and "find the simple joys of life," Parker said. Her siblings looked up to her and leaned on her for comfort.<br><br>-- <i>Jenna Carlesso</i><br><br><a href="">View Emilie Parker's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

 On the "Friends of the Engel Family Fund" Facebook page, there were photos of Olivia Rose Engel, 6, sitting behind the steering wheel of a boat with sunglasses, smiling. Another showed her wearing a set of wings, holding a golden star over her head.
Friends and family members said Olivia was a wonderful big sister to her 3 1/2-year-old brother, loved school and was looking forward to a full week of Christmas crafts. The energetic girl took ballet and music lessons, loved to play with the family dog, Petey, liked pink and purple and was active in the St. Rose of Lima Church in town ¿ where she was to be an angel in the Nativity play that had been scheduled for Saturday night.<br><br> --<i>Kenneth R. Gosselin</i><br><br><a href="">View Olivia Engel's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
<a href="">View Avielle Richman's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Caroline Previdi once went by the nickname "Boo" because she looked like the girl character in the movie "Monsters, Inc.," said one family friend, who declined to be named.
"She was a total sweetheart. She was adorable," the family friend said.
Another friend who lives in the Newtown area said Caroline loved gymnastics. "She was a spunky little girl. She had fire to her," the woman said.<br><br> -- <i>Brian Dowling, Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Caroline Pevidi's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Catherine Violet Hubbard was described as having a passion for animals and in an obituary that was released on Sunday her family asked that donations in her memory be made to the Newtown Animal Shelter.<br><br>-- <i>Ken Byron</i><br><br><a href="">View Catherine Hubbard's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Charlotte Bacon, who would have turned 7 in February, was anything but shy.
She was smart, outgoing, precocious and persistent, said her uncle, John Hagen, of Minneapolis.
"She had a big personality. She could carry on a conversation with any adult. She challenged my sister every day. She knew how to get what she wanted."

Case in point: Charlotte's mother, Joann, bought her a pink dress and white boots for the holidays. Charlotte had been begging to wear her new outfit early. On the last day of Charlotte's life, her mom finally gave in.<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Charlotte Bacon's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Chase Kowalski loved to be outside riding his bicycle, running or playing baseball, according to his family and neighbors.
He competed in his first triathlon at age 6, according to his obituary. He was a Cub Scout, and was a "fun loving energetic boy that had a true love of life."<br><br>-- <i>Shawn Beals</i><br><br><a href="">View Chase Kowalski's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Daniel Barden, 7, was a first-grader and beloved youngest son of a doting mother and father, according to friends and neighbors.
His parents tried to keep their children active, shuttling Daniel off to swim practice and other activities.
"This is warm, loving family," said a co-worker of Daniel's mother, Jackie Barden. "The kids were the type of kids parents want their children to be around: warm and wonderful and caring and kind. This is heartbreaking."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Daniel Barden's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

First-grader Noah Pozner attended Sandy Hook Elementary with his twin sister, Arielle, and an older sister, Sophia, 8.
Noah was a "rambunctious little maverick" who was "smart as a whip," said his mother, Veronique, speaking through a relative. He loved his family, his parents, his siblings and especially his twin, she said.
"He called her his best friend," she said.
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Noah Pozner's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Josephine Gay celebrated her seventh birthday on Tuesday.
In a photo circulating on the internet, Josephine peeked out from under a green, toy traffic cone, smiling with her glasses perched on the tip of her nose.<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Josephine Gay's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Dylan Hockley smiles online in a series of family photos. He's Shrek, his mom writes. Or he's "Super Dylan" - posed in a Superman outfit. In other images, he poses with his brother, Jake.<br><br>-- <i>Ken Byron</i><br><br>
<a href="">View Dylan Hockley's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>
Chris, Lynn and Jack McDonnell, the parents and older brother of Grace McDonnell, sent in a short statement to The Washington Post: "We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many people. Our daughter Grace was the love and light of our family. Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss."
The Werdens, who live across the street from the McDonnell's, shared a school bus stop. 
Todd Werden described Grace as "a real cute little blonde girl with blue eyes ¿ a real little doll."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br>
<a href="">View Grace McDonnell's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

James Mattioli, known to many simply as "J," was a smart, active boy who looked up to -- and like -- his father, played sports and loved food, an obituary posted online through a Monroe funeral home said.
"I need to go outside, Mom. I need fresh air," the family recalled James saying often. He loved baseball, basketball swimming and arm wrestling. He and his cousin George played hockey together.
The 6-year-old "proudly" rode his bike without training wheels, his family said.
<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View James Mattioli's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Kevin Samoskevich works in construction in Shelton and he often ran into Neil Heslin, a fellow building contractor, at the Dew Drop Donut shop in town. They'd exchange pleasantries over coffee and talk about available construction work. Heslin's son, Jesse Lewis, a happy 6 year old, was always beside him.
"He was a happy child," Samoskevich said. "A typical boy who was always in and out of things," on the job sites.<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Jesse Lewis' obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Jack was a Giants fan and a wrestler.
"Jack was an incredibly loving and vivacious young boy, appreciated by all who knew him for his lively and giving spirit and steely determination," read an obituary for Jack on The Newtown Bee's website. "In life and in death, Jack will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his six short years"<br><br>-- <i>Brian Dowling</i><br><br><a href="">View Jack Pinto's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Jessica was the Rekos's first born and they said she enjoyed being the big sister to her two little brothers, Travis and Shane. Jessica loved doing research on Orca whales, one of her passions after seeing the movie "Free Willy" last year. In October, she got a chance to visit Sea World and see a live Orca. She spent time, her family said, writing in her journals and making up stories.
Jessica, her family said, "started our family, and she was our rock."
-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Jessica Rekos' obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Benjamin Wheeler was "a very spirited boy," said Rabbi Shaul Praver of Adath Israel in Newtown. He and his parents, David and Francine Wheeler, were not members of the synagogue, but they attended its Hanukkah celebration.
-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br>

<a href="">View Benjamin Wheeler's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Madeleine F. Hsu was among the youngest victims in Newtown. She had just turned six in July, meaning just five victims were born after her.
"She was a sweet, beautiful little girl," Karen Dryer, a neighbor of the Hsu family, told the Wall Street Journal.
Dryer described Hsu as a "very upbeat and kind" girl who favored bright dresses.
Several people offered their condolences to Hsu's family. A commenter named Christen posted to the account on Saturday night, calling Hsu "a beautiful little soul who was very loved, full of life and I know will be missed dearly by all who knew her."
<br><br>-- <i>Washington Post</i><br><br><a href="">View Madeleine Hsu's obituary and leave your condolences.</a>

Allison Wyatt was a six-year-old student of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.<br>
Kate Capellaro of All for Kids in Ridgefield last saw Allison over the summer and described her to the New Haven Register: "She was a very shy girl, she was quiet and kept to herself, but she would smile at things. If a kid did something funny, she'd be laughing."<br>
Messages on a Facebook tribute for Allison read "Our prayers go out to you and your family," and "Rest in Peace and look over those who love you."<br>
<a href="">View Allison Wyatt's obituary and leave condolences</a>

Forever in our hearts and prayers.

Saturday, December 22

Surprise! Tis the Season!

Surprise everyone!!!

I've missed you all so much and just can't stand to be away any longer!!

I still am in casts so my posts will be brief (at least I've graduated to 2-finger typing now!!)... but filled with much love for everyone especially during this blessed Christmas season!

Long story short, I broke both my hands on Nov 20th while helping my son unload his jet ski trailer from his truck... I was sitting on the back of the trailer to add some weight (no comments please) so it would unlatch from the hitch a bit easier... and that it did... but once it released I was catapulted into the air and landed face down on the concrete driveway.... the rest is history...

Here's a picture of me (ok so it's just my "hands") holding a Get Well gift basket my boss sent me....

I'm so grateful to so many wonderful family and friends who have made meals, sent cards and gifts (lots of PJs and leisure wear), taken me Christmas shopping, wrapped all my Christmas gifts, chatted on the phone and spent many hours just visiting with me during this time, and to Anne who has given me my cute pixie haircut...  and of course my Superman husband has done EVERYTHING for me as you can only imagine.... he's been my right-hand man (and left hand too!!)....

I'll still not be able to post every day, but will definitely do what I can... after all I can claim it as Physical Therapy... right?