Sunday, December 29, 2013

Here vs. There


After church today, Mr. A and I trekked out to the Cialis loungers, (see http://leighramiot.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-ponderosas-version-of-cialis.html ) and sunbathed!  Granted only our face and hands received a wonderful vitamin D infusion and in the later part of the evening we covered up with down throws, but oh did we enjoy the sunshine!

We didn't do a blessed thing besides throw a toy for the dog to fetch and watch jets fly over.  Contrails entertain Mr. A endlessly as he speculates on the origin of the flights and destinations based on their position in the sky.  Aviation is in his blood and anything moving in the sky is time to pause and honor the occasion.  One flight in the western sky he postulated from Miami headed to Louisiana.  I simply prayed it stayed in the sky as long as it was supposed to and landed safely.  With Son Two having just flown to his home in Englewood, Colorado, I speculate more on who is in the plane, where are they going and why.  

At station KGAG, Kids Grown And Gone--I'm refusing to say "empty nest" same as not accepting the title housewife, but homemaker--one of our riveting new hobbies is comparing temperatures of Englewood to Valdosta, Son Two's home for the first 22 years of his life.  

This afternoon while we were basking in the sun, it was 70° in Valdosta, 28° in Englewood.  The mountains and boulders drew Baby Boy to Colorado; the temperate climate of southern Georgia will keep us anchored here, if not here, then somewhere further south where it's even warmer.  

Son Two's girlfriend's parents are presently in Englewood, settling their daughter in her apartment, and Mrs. Girlfriend Mom informed me they'd passed several $3 joint stores.  I don't know what the going rate for a joint is in Georgia, but I do know buying one here could land a person an overnight stay in the Silver Bar Hotel.  Mrs. Girlfriend Mom sent me a picture of a vehicle with an ad for Cannabis Energy drink on the rear window.  I sent a message back via Facebook chat that cannabis and energy is an oxymoron.  She said Son Two had said the same thing.  I replied, AMTA, Amiot minds think alike, a very scary thing.

Let's just say most Amiots I've met think way outside the box, and after being married to one for 27+ years, birthing and raising two more, there is an osmosis of sorts for non-linear thinking.  For example, Son Two did not deem it necessary to have dining chairs for his dining table.  Mrs. Girlfriend Mom bought him two captain's chairs from Goodwill to dine in civilly.  I'm not sure where he dined before, maybe on the couch which had no back cushions.  I believe the couch came from Goodwill as well.

Son Two, aka Thing Two and Baby Boy evidently believed couch cushions were as unnecessary as dining chairs.   In some cases, it is good to think within the box and I am thankful he, a stockbroker, can now dine like a stockbroker should. I suppose other stockbroker's first bachelor and bachelorette pads had no back pads on their couches, but even in the heart of redneck country, ours have padded backs, granted they may be on the porch and exposed to the rain, but they have cushioned backs!

Son Two boasts he hasn't been running the heat.  No dining chairs, no cushions for the couch, and no heat.  This is what people do near Denver?  And people make fun of southerner's way of living!

Actually, this primitive living may be in Son Two's blood as he had a great-great uncle who installed indoor plumbing *after* being elected state senator. He was perfectly happy with the way things were, but one day while sitting on the fence jam, he decided a senator should probably do his sitting in a more dignified manner.  Jokester he was, he installed a mirror on the back of the inside door directly in front of the new facility so his wife could look at herself.  True story, I can find several upstanding Christian citizens who will vouch for me.

Mrs. Girlfriend Mom also said they were going saw shopping so Son Two can cut up wood for his fireplace because he won't run the heat.  

You can take the boy out of Georgia, but evidently you can't take Georgia out of the boy, and I'm proud of him!  He was probably the only kid of his generation whose mom rang a bell for dinner and refuses to own an electric can opener.

And now it's 57° in Valdosta and 26° in Englewood.  Bundle up Baby Boy!

Until next time,

Mrs. A           

Saturday, December 28, 2013

As Christmas Departs


After a pleasant afternoon of running errands, Mr. A and I finished the last two slices of the pecan pie baked and served on Christmas Day.  We had brunch this morning around 11, slices of Christmas ham and scrambled eggs. Dinner was around 4 P.M. at Crystal River Seafood, so pecan pie seemed the logical choice for our third meal of the day.  

One of the errands was due to our cat, Ashley, who did something rather unpleasant on our bedspread,



Yes, Ashley, hide your face in shame!
so we pretreated the stains at home, then traipsed to a laundromat to use a front loading washer so as not to overwhelm our rather ancient one.  We hadn't made it but a few feet away from the vehicle and Mr. A was hit up for a "donation" to help someone with gas money.  He gave in good faith and one can only hope it was not misused.  

The modern washers tell how long the cycle is, so we had time to run to Harbor Freight instead of staying there and watching the soaps.  After collecting our wet bedspread to dry at home, I have a little more faith in the dryer than the washer, we had our late lunch/early dinner, then it was on to Hallmark to get Christmas cards half price for next year.  

I'm putting faith in celebrating a next Christmas, but the reality is, one never knows. 

While at Crystal River, I saw a classmate of my mother's, Valdosta High School Class of '51, whose son died on December 10th.  The longer I live, the more I realize why people often add, "the good Lord willing" when they speak of their future intentions.  My mother's classmate spoke of her loss with dignity and courage, adding one bit of information that made me smile in a very sad moment, "He was a Christian."  


Here we are winding down from a season of celebrating Christ's birth, but the sobering fact is His birth had a deliberate purpose--His death--to atone for the sins of mankind.  To hear this man had made the decision to believe and receive Christ's provision for eternity in heaven was very good news. 


It doesn't change the fact that his mother must live with this loss the rest of her natural life, but having the promise of seeing him again in heaven is surely of some consolation.  I said to her losing a child is something a parent should never experience and life is sometimes unfair.  It's hard to know exactly what to say in this circumstance.  The Word of God has something more comforting to say:   

Psalm 34:18
New International Version (NIV) 
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Some might ask where God is in this situation, this brave woman did not, but believers have been told exactly where He is, close to the brokenhearted.  

The New Living Translation of Psalm 56:8 tells us 

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

I have wondered if the River of Life which proceeds from the throne of God in the new heaven might be supplied by our tears shed on earth.  Since the Lord collected them, are they redeemed to something beautiful?--in a place where there'll be no more tears to stream from our eyes, no more sorrow, sickness or pain!  

I hugged this sweet woman and her husband, her son's stepfather, and was on my way with yet another reminder not to take this life for granted.  

When my husband and I got home, before the pie, I puttered about, recorded new addresses in the Christmas card book I keep, put away boxes, bows and even tags I plan to reuse next year, the good Lord willing.


And if the Lord in His Sovereignty calls me home between now and then, I share the same hope of eternity in heaven as the man who preceded his mother in death.  I thought of Mary, a lady of sorrows, as she watched the brutality of her Son's crucifixion.  


At the first Christmas there were heavenly shouts of joy to the Lord, and at His death there were battles in the heavenlies where the enemy and his minions were made an unsightly spectacle, then the most remarkable victory in the resurrection three days later, with a promise of our own as well.  Death was defeated!  

We don't often think of the two most significant events in Christ's life together as we celebrate the individual holidays, His birth and His death and subsequent resurrection, but today, learning of a friend's loss so close to Christmas, I am reminded of how intimately the two are intertwined.  


Rest in peace Richard Crancie Taylor.     

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday, November 2010


Not throwing back too far today, just three years ago to November 2010, one of the best shots of this sweet couple, Son Two and his beautiful girlfriend:



On Sunday, they'll be reunited and won't be so far apart!  It's 23 hours and 23 minutes from Valdosta, GA to Englewood, CO, or 1,636 miles!  That's too far apart for a couple of five years!  Of that five years and three months, they have spent the last six months apart.  Now they'll be next door neighbors!    

This was taken at Anna Ruby Falls in Helen, GA.  Falls?  Well, with a couple this gorgeous, who would focus on the falls?  This was two years into their relationship, and three years later, they look just as happy together.  Most of the Amiot family spent Thanksgiving together in Helen in 2010.  I felt cocooned in the love of family, so nice to be together on holidays.  

Bon voyage, Daughter-in-heart and Son Two!  Any tears in my eyes are selfish, for me; for you two I have nothing but joy and happiness that you'll be together in Colorado.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Daughter-in-love and Son One's beautifully set table for Christmas Eve Dinner
Later we had roast with burgundy sauce, mashed potatoes with sour cream 

and cream cheese, the best I've ever had, roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  

Real men like Mr. A frost red velvet cakes.  Mrs. A baked it, though.  Unfortunately
it later tore apart, but it tasted good!  Baked on Christmas Eve,
consumed on Christmas Day  
Not sure I can explain this one.  :D

They look like old man bedroom shoes to me, but hey, whatever
floats Son One's boat.  

Balaclava for Baby Boy to wear in Colorado,
gift from his brother


We missed Baby Boy's girlfriend!

Pecans!  Honey Toasted

From Baby Boy to Big Brother

I cannot explain Mr. A's pose.  :D

Mr. A got the Christmas box!  A gift has been wrapped
in this box every year for 28 years!  

Mr. A and his new suit
Mr. A, his new suit, Baby Boy's balaclava,
and Mr. A's imaginary shotgun 


Daughter-in-love and our resident granddog

Firstborn, Older son, Son One, Thing One, love this "kid"
I will be cleaning this mirror tomorrow!  

Mr. A knows I love pink!  I hurried up and washed these,
Old Colony pink depression glass dessert plates,
still had a little antique store patina,
then served Christmas cake on them











Monday, December 23, 2013

Wrap With Me! That's wrap, not rap! This Morning, It's Praise!

4:38 A.M.

Awake since 3 A.M.  No idea why, did not consume caffeine yesterday save for what minimal amount is in a couple of Andes mints.  This is a fairly new development, so when handed wakefulness, I have chosen to make the best of it.  Most often it's prayer and Bible reading, this morning it is wrapping Christmas presents and listening to praise music in Mr. A's sign shop.  His work table is the nearly perfect surface to lay out all the paraphernalia to create pretty packages to go underneath the tree.


My solution to misplacing tape, scissors, pen, etc.,
while wrapping gifts. 


The gifts might have a paint fleck or a bit of vinyl on them, but that will be a reminder of the one who labors for us, Mr. A.  

Now playing:  Made Me Glad by Miriam Webster  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMJZIWMc1EM

Maggie, the Australian shepherd granddog, is dutifully on guard outside the door, taking a break occasionally to chase Ashley, our 11-year-old cat who survives her nearly 20-year-old nemesis, Sassy.  Ashley woke us last night with persistent meows at 4 A.M.  Although she tormented Sassy, I believe she misses her.  

Mr. A  told our "kids" at lunch yesterday he wanted to kill Ashley for her middle-of-the-night-meows.  Our daughter-in-love is not a fan of felines; that is one of many things Mr. A likes about her.  She laughed at his murderous wishes, but it seems both of them have a rudimentary understanding of why others like cats and tolerate them for loved ones' sake.     

So far, four presents wrapped, and stockings are slowly being stuffed.  I look up and see Mr. A's calendar is still on November.  Calendars and clocks have never constrained his life, but I change it to December anyway.

Recently I described my older son as frugal, parsimonious, sometimes cheap, and as I re-use tags, gift bags, boxes and bows that survived previous Christmases, I have unearthed a clue as to the origin of that behavior.

In keeping family tradition, Baby Boy may reuse this!
Kohl's thinks like we do!






















These tags have nice ribbons...could hang the used ones on the tree
for ornaments next year! 
Now playing:  He Is God by Christ for the Nations Music  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLLDaYPDQnM

Spoiler alert:  Baby Boy will have more clothes under the tree than Big Brother.  Although they are 26 and 23, Mr. A and I try to keep things as equitable as possible between them.  In our defense, Baby Boy's Valdosta, Georgia wardrobe wasn't entirely adequate for Englewood, Colorado's climate.  With sons, clothes as a Christmas gift is not even a half step above coal in their stocking, so maybe Big Brother won't hold it against us.

Now playing:  Isn't He by Terry Clark 
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nHq0LnSbMc

Here's my stocking and the stuffer I helped Mr. A select.  That's how we roll.  I am still dubious about that Santa Claus business.  

I am an overgrown nerd.  Firstborn son asked what I might like for Christmas and
I gave him the name of a software program I want, plus the title of book on how
to run Windows 8.1.  Electronics work for me! 


Now playing:  Light of the World by Chris Tomlin, featuring Matt Redman 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPOpLE7n9s8

It is 5:59 A.M. and I kid you not,

Now playing:  Waking Up the Dawn by Jennie Lee Riddle, featuring Michael Farren
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C13m7BOcTmg

The last present I wrapped goes to Baby Boy's long time girlfriend who left yesterday to spend Christmas with her parents' families in Illinois, then from there they'll make the trek to Colorado where she'll move into an apartment next door to his.  I almost didn't say goodbye to her yesterday because I hate goodbyes.  Baby Boy's Big Brother and my daughter-in-love encouraged me to say my goodbyes and I'm glad I did!  I managed not to cry!  I'm actually ecstatically happy for them to be reunited after more than six months apart; I just hated to see her go.  After five years as a couple, she is my daughter-in-heart.  I love her and I'll miss her!

"My King of heaven, you are my treasure!"  Lyric from You Are My Vision.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQNczm45GyY

Jesus is my treasure in heaven and my precious family is my treasure on earth. As believers in Christ, we hold the hope of being together eternally!

Thank you for wrapping Christmas presents with me.  'Tis two nights before Christmas and Mr. A was sleeping soundly in his bed, didn't want to disturb him.

We're done! 



    

Saturday, December 21, 2013

This and That, December 21st, 2013

It's a picture kind of day today.  

Baby boy is home for Christmas and Maggie is delighted to see him!
 
 
Ashley wishes you a Merry Christmas, sweet to see her under the tree,
carrying on Sassy's tradition
 
 
My America, the cross, the flag, a motorcycle,
a Christmas toy run for children in need,
Valdosta Outback Riders 21st annual Toy Run





 
 
 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Throwback to '69, '87, '90 and 2012

 
If my mother wanted a sweet picture of her little girl on Santa's lap...  I'm surprised she didn't whoop my butt for this.  I remember that entire evening vividly.  I didn't want to get dressed up, I couldn't stand the feel of the top of that dress, some kind of polyester, and this Santa counterfeit didn't fool me, not one bit.  There were beads that went with that dress, a white strand and a purple strand.  I probably didn't want to wear those either.  
 
Here's how to get a decent Christmas picture of children, snap it before they develop an attitude!  This is Thing One, a little under three months old, resident super-genius, he was probably sounding out Coca-Cola and analyzing the fiber content of the garment.
 
Christmas 1987
 
 
We liked him a lot, so we made another one.
 
Christmas 1990



 
 

Thing Two is about three weeks old here, having arrived the week after Thanksgiving.  He may have been plotting how to get out of the carrier and climb the Christmas tree.  Note Thing One's interpretation of the Nativity.  I was probably too tired to notice, or if I did, to care.

I have no Christmas picture of Mr. A as an infant, not sure if one exists.  He was the fifth child of seven in a good Catholic family.  His mother was probably too tired as well, Christmas 1954.  Mr. A was born in February, began walking at nine months; odds are he wouldn't be still to have his picture taken.  

I'm almost ready for Christmas 2013!  We'll host the grown up version of these precious babies.  Hopefully their mother has grown up a bit, too!  My daughter-in-love, Thing One's wife, will be with us, but my daughter-in-heart will be in Illinois, visiting relatives, then she's on to Colorado to begin a new chapter of her life with Thing Two.

Life is good, rich, and filled with abundant blessings.  (Oh, it's tough, too, but that's not the focus today.)  

I'm sure in '87, I couldn't imagine our life being any richer, then in '90, could it get any better?  

Yes, when the daughters arrived, polished, bugs and kinks worked out already.

Here's the rest of the crew, Christmas 2012.  I'm there.  You are seeing my treasure through my eyes.

Mr. A and Maggie, our granddog

Thing Two and his perfect match--she climbs boulders, too!

Thing One's wife, her dear friend's baby, our honorary granddaughter
and Mr. A photo bombing! 


The loves of my life! 


Mr. A, a natural...babies love him!
        
  
 

  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sassy, We'll Miss You Glaring At Us From Underneath the Christmas Tree

 
 
and glaring at us in general
 
 
 
 
Like many little kids in 1993 who saw the movie "Homeward Bound:  The Incredible Journey", ours wanted a pet named after the lead animal character.  We adopted Sassy from a pet store for a mere ten dollar immunization fee; she sure wasn't a pure bred but a rather ugly Heinz variety with a gray tabby striped coat and clashing gold eyes.  They clashed with her coat and everyone she looked at but our older son.  She made no secret of him being the preferred member of our family.  And was she ever appropriately named!  
 
Sassy and her preferred family member, many moons ago
 
 
Her preferred family member grew up and moved away but Sassy stayed at The Ponderosa, the only home she'd known.  After a long while, she graced my husband with the privilege of being nice to him.  He's not a cat lover, and that is quite the understatement, but he petted her anyway when she demanded it.  Their affection being intermittently mutual, Mr. A laughed his face off one day when Sassy was walking the edge of the swimming pool and fell in.
 
Earlier in December, baby boy had his duffel bag in hand, on his way back to his new home in Colorado after a brief visit to his old one.  On the back deck, he set his bag down and Sassy let him pet her for awhile.  Evidently she'd finally forgiven him for chasing her all through the house the day before she gave birth to her only litter of kittens, or maybe she'd simply forgotten because it was so many years ago when he was a toddler.     
 
In time, we were fairly certain she developed kittyheimer's.  She forgot she hated everyone but older son and Mr. A.  She began to be friendly to all of us, when she wanted to be, that was.  We rejoiced, saying Sassy got saved!  She let me brush the coat she no longer efficiently groomed after dissing me for most of her nearly two decade life.  She had gone stone deaf, her meows became caterwauling, and we had to walk in front of her or stamp as we approached to let her know we were around.    
 
She was brave in her passing.  At 2 A.M. she was still breathing.  By 6 A.M. when we awoke, she did not.  Cat-hater turned cat-tolerator Mr. A tried to say his eyes weren't wet, then he gave her a respectful burial near the entrance of the woods she loved to visit.     
 
What an incredible journey she had!  Nearly two decades, nine lives and then some.  However ornery you were, Sassy, you were a part of our family and we loved you!   

Some of the Best Advice I Ever Received

 



Many years ago, I was in the audience of an older Christian gentleman who challenged the listeners to read and study one chapter of the book of Proverbs each day of the month.  There are 31 chapters, tailor-made for the calendar and this type meditation.   

I've done this off and on for years.  Some proverbs I've made great progress with, others still challenge to me to grow, and I expect it will be this way as long as I live.     

This well-seasoned, wise man also startled me with a verse I was yet unfamiliar with: 

 

Isaiah 64:6

New International Version (NIV)

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
 
Talk about a glass of cold water in the face, our righteous acts are repugnant to the Lord.  We're supposed to do good deeds, right?
 
But I think I get it.  When we get to regarding ourselves as righteous of our own accord, the underlying pride is what is offensive to the Lord. 
 
 

John 15:5

New International Version (NIV)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.

So says His son, Jesus.  If I'm not grafted into Him, from what source am I growing things and what yield could I expect?  So it stands to reason that anything that looks like righteousness grown from a source other than the Lord will in time be judged chaff, the useless case of wheat berries which is disposed of after harvest, and will come to nothing.

Thinking oneself "good" apart from the Lord is one of the most dangerous places, spiritually, to be. 

Study on that awhile.  No, the intent here is not to hammer on anyone's self-esteem.  And as far as that goes, God-esteem is what needs to be developed in our lives, regarding ourselves through God's eyes.   

But I just quoted Him saying our righteousness is likened to filthy rags, right?  That doesn't sound like He esteems us very highly, does it? 

That is not how He sees those in Christ.  The prophet Isaiah, in the 10th chapter of the 61st verse, foretold the Lord's mercy on those of us wearing piteously filthy rags.   

New International Version
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness...

The garment of salvation is Christ!  In Him, our robes are no longer filthy, but righteous!  Joy to the world, the Lord has come!  Talk about Merry Christmas!   

Now that we have Him, we can't just stand still and do nothing.  Grow in godly wisdom and knowledge!  Proverbs is a wonderful place to start the journey.



Proverbs 1

New International Version (NIV)

Purpose and Theme

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
    for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
    doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
    and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
    the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
 
Let us not be ill-clothed and foolish!  This Christmas season and all year round, receive the gifts the Lord anxiously awaits to give His children!  Carefully unwrap them in quiet time, meditation and contemplation, one chapter at the time, an investment of a lifetime with yields far greater than silver and gold.
     
 I've got some learning and growing to do and I hope you'll join me!

Blessings of wisdom and understanding
compliments of the Lord,

Mrs. A
 
 

 
 

Monday, December 16, 2013

My daughter-in-love...


...sent this to me and Mr. A.


This is what the plate looked like when I got it. 

It doesn't look like this anymore.  :D 

Thank you, Meghan! 

A shoe!!!

So, I'm sitting at the computer desk and Mr. A walks in, handing me one pink fuzzy slipper. 

He said he heard me say, "A shoe!" 

Most normal husbands would say, "Bless you!" 

I'm so happy he's not normal.  If he was, he'd have a hard time being married to me. 

As is usual, my man has made me laugh first thing in the morning.  I cannot recall a day in which he hasn't made me laugh at least once. 

"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine..."  Proverbs 17:21 (KJ21)

 On Saturday at Sam's, he saw Ms. Sonja who manages the optical department and steered our cart right toward her.  She began to move out of his way and he said, "Oops, didn't see you.  I don't have on my glasses." 

A gigantic smile filled her face.

What can you spring from your merry heart to put a smile on the face of another?  That's your assignment today.  I'm not sure  everyone could appreciate being handed a shoe or having a huge shopping cart rolled in their direction, so be original, think of something else.

Love, laughter and smiles to you and yours,

Mrs. A 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happy Birthday in heaven, William Francis Amiot

12/15/14 - 06/22/98



This photo of Mr. A's parents was taken on our wedding day, September 21, 1986, his first time being best man.  The elder Mr. A was 72 years old when he had that honor, and oh did he wear those tails with panache.  It was as if it were *his* wedding day!  God love him and my Mr. A for wearing pink!    

The most special memory I have of the elder Mr. A was the day he told me if his son ever laid a hand on me to tell him.  He tapped his chest with his huge index finger as he said it.  

My Mr. A once said to me he'd never hit me because I'd hit him back.  I have my grandmother and mother to thank for instilling in me that if-you-hit-me-I'll-hit-you-back attitude.  My father did not live to see me grown; he was 42, I was 11 when he died.  

There are so many things a little girl misses without a daddy around, and to know that kind of noble protectiveness was there for me when my daddy couldn't be was a heart touching blessing.   

The best part of all was the senior Mr. A and I knew that violence would never be an issue in this marriage.  After all, my Mr. A was raised by a man who respected and protected his wife and he revered his mother's memory.  Any single women reading this, marry the son of a man like this!

I believe it was in the elder Mr. A's 73rd year of life when he re-roofed his house.  He didn't pay anyone to do what he could do himself.  My Mr. A is just as strong and driven, works as hard with hands that are identical to his father's.  He has never misused the great strength in them, but with them has only blessed me and our sons.

You raised a fine son, Mr. Amiot.  I'm proud to be his wife and blessed to honor your memory.