Saturday, November 26, 2011

2011 November 26

Some of the shoppers
S            Last night was fun.  I was Santa at Jolly Holiday Lights.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, the Iowa Make A Wish Foundation conducts an outdoor, drive through, exhibit of decorative lighting.  The various stations along the drive are sponsored by various businesses, clubs, etc.  This has been done annually at the Des Moines Water Works Park for quite a number of years now.  There is a small charge per car load to drive through.  At the end of the drive is a small shop where you can purchase small toys, cookies, and hot drinks.  And me, Santa.  For five bucks you can have a photo taken with me.  You can also bring your own camera or phone-camera and take all the pictures that you want for free.
            Of course the kids (and occasional adult) get to set on my knee and tell me what they want for Christmas.  I check to see if they have been good most of the year (nobody is good ALL year.)  And let them know, that if it is possible, I’ll get them what they ask for or at least a good surprise.
            Most kids ask for electronics, cars/trucks, dolls, or pets.  I had one little girl ask if I could bring her cat back.  I don’t know if the cat was missing or dead.  I told her that that was too hard even for Santa.  The best I could do would be to look for a new cat for her.
            I also had one middle age woman sit on my lap and tell me she wanted a house, a car and a new husband.  Her husband then sat on my lap and said he wanted a pick up truck.  (I don’t think he heard what she had asked for.)
            Then there was the two mentally challenged men that I’d guess were close to my age who sat on my lap while their care givers took their pictures.
            Most children were delighted to see me, one who ran the full length of the building and jumped up to hug me.  She also came back and gave me a kiss before she left.  She and the little girl with Down’s syndrome were my favorites of the night because they were so loving.
            Unfortunately there are some that are too shy or afraid to sit on Santa’s lap.  Right at the end of the night there was a girl around 7-9 years old who wasn’t just afraid; she was in full panic mode when Mom tried to sit her on my lap.  And her mother would not give up.  She pinned the little girl’s arms to her side and held her there while her picture was taken.  It makes me wonder what has happened in that child’s life that caused that much fear.  It also makes me wonder about the mother’s motives.  Clearly it was all about Mom and not about the girl.
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            This morning was laundry day.  I did the laundry while Ella was working at the Clubhouse.   She will work from eight to two this afternoon.  I will be leaving shortly to go into church.  The Worship Committee is to meet at noon to finish putting up Christmas decorations      .  Our Men’s Bible Study guys had helped bring stuff up from the church basement on Wednesday.  The also started putting up some of the window decorations.  I don’t think it should take too long to finish decorating.
            It has been raining off and on this morning and the wind is blowing at a pretty good clip.  They are saying the wind is going to pick up to gusts around 45 mph.  There is also a chance of snow.  Hard to believe that two days ago people were driving around town with their convertible tops down and lots of bikers were on the road.  Everyone was trying to make the best of what may be the last ‘good’ day until Spring.
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Just got back from decorating the church.  I left there at about 1:50 and it is not 4:15.  It is about a ten minute drive.  Unless you have a flat tire.  Fortunately I have roadside service.   So I called the mechanic from Ankeny Service came.  Neither of us could get the spare tire down from under the truck.  The solution was to jack up the truck, remove the wheel and take it to be replaced.  We took it to Firestone and were told that he would not be able to get to it until Tuesday. (This is Saturday)  We went about a block and a half down the street to the Goodyear store and bought the tire.  We came back and he installed the new tire.  And I finally got home.  Sean from Ankeny Service was an angel to do all that running when all he had been called to do was change a tire.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The day began as any other day.  The sun rose in the east and I arose in my bedroom.  The alarm had not gone off.  It never did until after I was awake.  All these years and I continue to set the alarm because I’m convinced that if I do not set them, I will oversleep.  It is Thanksgiving and I have only one place to be today.
It is Thanksgiving and I give thanks.  I thank God that Ella’s cancer was found and removed.  I thank God that the one hundred percent blockage of my rear coronary artery was found and quickly removed.  We both are alive.  Ella is older than her mother ever became.  I am older than my father ever was.  I thank God.

I am thankful for a loving heart and a huge family to share it with.  I’m thankful for modern communication such as Facebook that let’s me be in touch with so many family and friends.  We had a Thanksgiving meal with Kathy my niece/sister and her family.  I ate some of nearly everything that was prepared.  I refrained however from over indulgence and enjoyed the visit.
I am thankful for a quiet evening in which to think and write.  I am so enjoying writing for all my different blogs.  They give me a chance to express the different voices within me. (Go ahead … it’s a perfect straight line … you might as well say it.)  And I’m thankful for all of you who read what I have writ.  Please share my blogs with your friends. Enjoy.
No matter how you say it, It's a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2011 November 23

            The Men’s Bible Study is using “The Journey” by Adam Hamilton for an Advent study.  It was interesting to see the places in Nazareth where Jesus must have walked and possibly the place of his birth.  It was also a revelation to me as to what the name Nazareth means and how that falls in line with prophesies in Isaiah.
            After the Bible study, several of the guys helped me to bring the church’s Advent / Christmas decorations into the sanctuary.  We got some of the items ‘in place’ and the rest we (the Worship Committee members) will finish the decorating on Saturday.
            I came home and picked up Ella to go to Sam’s club for groceries and gas. That’s the first time in a long time since I was able to buy gas at under $3.00 ($2.999).  After spending $150 + for groceries at Sam’s, we went to Dahl’s and spent another $75.  I think that amount of spending offset the $1.30 I saved on gas.
            Today was gorgeous with lots of sunshine and a high in the mid fifties.  We were driving around with the windows down in the truck.  (Yeah, we must be Iowans.)
           Yesterday I baked two loaves of potato bread.  They were to take to Kathy & Danny's for Thanksgiving.  Last night Ella ask if she could have a slice from one loaf.  I said that I would bake some more tomorrow (today).
          When I got home from Bible study this morning, there was less than half a loaf left.  I guess the bread turned out okay. (smile)
           I have made more potato bread this evening.  It is doing it's final proof right now before going into the oven.
           I love making bread.  I remember writing quite a long piece about how I loved the entire process of making bread.  That was when I was posting through AOL.  I don't believe  that they called them blogs.  Unfortunately all of that was lost when AOL stopped hosting the service.  I'll try and be smarter about the material that I post on my current blogs.  Back Up and Save. 
           Speaking of blogs.  Check out my new blog at Stories by Thomas E. Williams.

Complete List of Blogs that I Publish

For a while now I’ve used one of my other blogs to post Stories and Sermons.  I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I need to split the two themes.  Originally the blog was mostly sermons and illustrative stories. 

However, as I’ve continued to write, not all of the stories fit my original concept for that blog.  Therefore you will now find SERMONS at “Sermons by Thomas E. Williams” and STORIES at “Stories by Thomas E. Williams.”

Here is a complete list of the blogs that I am publishing.

Please visit each of them and let me know what you think / feel about my postings.  I love to get feedback.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 November 22

Potato Soup
Pecan Silk Supreme Pie

We made one additional stop yesterday.  We went to Village Inn for supper and Ella’s free pie for her birthday.  You’ll find this hard to believe, but I did NOT have pie.  If they would have had sour cream raisin I would have had pie.  But they were out, so I didn’t.

            I got up this morning and Weatherbug said that it was still above freezing so I re-hooked the water hose and refilled my ‘back up’ water supply.  I have a three gallon water bottle with a dispenser that we use for drinking and cooking water when we are running off of the holding tank.  I try to keep that 80 gallon tank for cleaning and flushing.
            The Weatherbug also said that it was drizzling and it was, sort of.  It was really more like a heavy mist than a drizzle.  I think I’d rather it rained.  Rain seems so much ‘cleaner’ than this drizzle.

            I’ve been working on all my blogs this morning.  It isn’t that I’ve been posting on all of them.  However, I have been working ‘under the hood’ tweaking some of the settings etc.  I had to repair a link that was posted on the Home Is Where The 5th Wheel Is blog.  I had a link that was supposed to go the Retirement Dreams blog but I had entered the hyperlink incorrectly.  It now goes where it is supposed to go.

            I will be going over material for a Bible study that I’ve agreed to conduct.  It is titled, “The Purpose of Christmas” byRick Warren.  The synopsis sounds like it will be a good short-term study for Advent.  I've provided a link to his website out of courtesy.  Since I have not yet reviewed the material, this is not an endorsement.  I'll keep you posted.

            Oh, here is a funny thing that happened to us.  Ella and I use the swipe method to input text on our Droids.  That means that instead of touching each letter on the keyboard, you slide your finger from letter to letter.  Most of the time the software understands what you are doing and posts the correct word.  Sometimes, however, funny things happen.  Several days ago I was trying to write “wife” and it kept printing “erotic”.  I thought that was hilarious.  Yesterday, being Ella’s sixty-fifth birthday, she was sending a text and was trying to write, “I’m officially a senior citizen.”  Instead it printed, “I’m officially a senior vixen.”   When you put the two together … well … I’m a lucky man!


Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 November 21 Ella's Birthday

       Today was Ella's payday so picked up her check around 8:30 or so then we went on the over to church and had a meeting with Lee about the service for this coming weekend with the Hanging of the Greens.  Once we had that sorted out we got the paraments out of storage.  However, I completely forgot to help put them up.  Opps!
       We also picked up a frozen ham and two large cans of yams while we were church.  One of the members had donated turkeys, hams and canned yams to those who needed them.  We took one to John, Ella's son, at his work and that way he could we wish his mother a happy birthday at the same time. 
      Ella received a birthday coupon from Old Country Buffet.  It was a buy one get one free deal.  On the coupon it said, buy one dinner and get one free.  I was n't sure if they would honor it for lunch or if it had to be dinner which starts at 3:30.  Since we were already on that side of town, I wanted to be able to use it for lunch.  I called the number on coupon and asked my question.  I was told that we could use it for lunch also.   "You can use it all day, we don't care," is the exact quote.
      When we went to the buffet, we were told that "No, it is for dinner only.  There is not a key for the coupon at lunch."   I told her that I had called earlier and ask about that.  She said, "Well, he doesn't know.  He doesn't work up here (the register)".   I said well then just ring in one meal and two drinks.  That is what she did.  
         Ella went to the dollar store to purchase goodies for all the grand kids' Christmas bags.  I also bought three bread loaf pans.  The pans I had were scarred and looked rusty.  Usually I just bake the loaves on a cookie sheet instead of a loaf pan.  However, Kathy had requested that I make potato bread for Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought I'd make actual loaves for the event.
            When we left the southside, we took the Purple Heart Highway by-pass.  We stopped at Walnut Woods State Park on the way home.  When we were tent camping, this was our favorite park. Walnut Woods and Brown Woods combined is the largest black walnut forest in the world.  Back then it was totally primitive.  Only about 6 of the 20 sites had electricity.  There was no water and no sewer.  There was no dump station and only a couple of pit toilets.  What we liked about it was that not many RVers used the park.  It really wasn’t really that RV friendly.  They started updating things.  First they put in ‘modern’ toilets with stools and and sinks – but no showers.  At the same time they put in a dump and water station.  Of course these changes started bringing in RVs.  They did a survey a few years back and found that their main traffic was RVs coming in off of the interstate.  So they’ve poured concrete pads and added quite a few full hookup sites.  Any way as I was saying, we stopped to see what was going on.  Nothing!  Not a single camper.  Hmm, makes you wonder if they’ve improved themselves out of business.
            We made it back home about 3:00.  I had forgotten that I had prescriptions to pick up at Walgreens.  We also need to talk to them because they filled a prescription for Ella that they weren't supposed to fill.  We had switched all of Ella’s prescriptions over to Walmart and told Walgreen to take her off of the automatic refill.  We shouldn't be surprised because this particular Walgreen has screwed up so many things in the last three years.  Let’s be clear, I'm not dissatisfied with Walgreen in general but with this particular Walgreen specifically I certainly am upset.  Come January when I turn 65 and go on medicare I am moving all my prescriptions to Walmart also.  The only reason we haven't done it this point is that we purchased on of Walgreen’s W cards that is good until January anyway.  I went back and picked up the prescriptions and told them AGAIN that they were supposed to cancel Ella’s auto-refills.  I also emphasized that they are NOT to cancel MY auto-refills.  We’ll see how that works out.  I don’t hold out a lot of hope.
            On the way home the second On the way home the second time, I stopped at our storage unit and brought back some more Christmas items.  I also brought a small cabinet door from the old fifth-wheel.  The cabinets in the two fifth-wheels are identical right down to the hardware.  Handy!  I then used it to make a shelf in the new fifth-wheel.  Right now, I'm using a piece of twin to hold it.  I will be shopping for a hinged support.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 November 20

Looking out my door November 20. 2011 So much nicer than yesterday.
     The sun came out today.  After yesterday’s bleak overcast day, it is nice to see the sun.  It is too bad that the cold came along with the sun.   It is 2:15 p.m. as I write this and it has just gotten above freezing to 33 degrees.

     Sunday school was very good today. (Not that it isn't usually good) We had some nice discussion about the Lord's prayer, corporate prayer and private prayer.  Then that was followed by Pastor Lee's sermon on remembering.  What do we choose to focus on when we are remembering?  The good?  Or the bad?  
      The choir presented "Psalm of Celebration" by Mark Hayes.  It was very uplifting.  They received applause for the singing.  I almost never clap for the choir although I may give an "Amen" or "Praise God".  When I was in the choir I felt uncomfortable with applause because the singing was done to honor God and not win approval from the poeple.
    How do you feel about applauding in church?

Here is a video of my silly great granddaughters and their silly gran'pa.
The video isn't great but the giggles are wonderful.