Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Nat!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. When I was a young girl, we would travel to Florence, AL to spend the day with my mother’s grandparents (my great-grandparents). We would start the day at the McGee’s where my great-grandfather Tack would play the harmonica and pull on our toes. I loved the smell of Granny’s house and I loved to play on the columns that adorned her front porch. They were made of tree limbs and were knobby and painted white. My uncle Donny would sit outside and smoke and Granny would dip snuff and we kids would play in the leaves and skip rocks across the pond out back.

After eating lunch with the McGee’s, we would head over to the Roberson’s and visit with my grandfather’s mother, sister and step-father. Sometimes we would peck at the piano and sometimes we would just lie in the floor and tell stories and talk about whatever was on our mind. Regardless of what we did or what we talked about, it was always good quality time.

When it came time to drive back home to Huntsville, we would shimmy over to my paternal grandparents’ house and visit with what was left of the Parker crowd. After eating all day, I wouldn’t eat much of anything there, but my dad always managed a little extra room for my grandmother’s dressing.

As I got older and our family started having families of their own, and my great-grandfathers passed away, my parents started hosting my mother’s family. We would prepare all the food and they would come and eat with us and after the feasting and the fellowship we would again venture over to the Parkers to visit with all the folks there.

Throughout the years our Thanksgiving has continually changed. When I was in college, my parents invited wayward hockey players over for Thanksgiving dinner as well as people from church who had no family in town or no one to visit. We’ve had guests at our Thanksgiving table from Latvia, Canada, and Tennessee, but no matter who was at our table, the time was always enjoyable and memorable and definitely a time to be thankful.

This year, we all share in the cooking duties and this year there will be one face missing from our table that I’m sure will weigh heavy on our hearts. But it will allow us time to reflect on the good times and look forward to the future times with that loved one. And although he will be missed, we also know that he is safe and he is warm and he is not hungry and we pray that God will bless us by bringing us together again soon.

So, Happy Thanksgiving from Nat! May your day be memorable and may you be thankful not only on Thanksgiving but on every day of the year.

I will leave you with a few Thanksgiving quotes that I found today:

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." -W.T. Purkiser

“Praise God even when you don't understand what He is doing.”
- Henry Jacobsen

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”
 – Theodore Roosevelt

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”
– Cicero

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.”
– Aesop

Ladies Night Out Finale

As mentioned previously on this blog, we have a Ladies Night Out with the gals from church once a month. Every year our season finale, if you will, is at Mrs. Irma’s house. Mrs. Irma was my mom’s PE teacher at Madison Academy and she was my teacher at church when I was a young girl and often teaches the ladies’ class I attended before we moved to our temporary church location. She’s an awesome gal and I’m thankful to know her.

Mrs. Irma decorates for Christmas with a vengeance! There’s not a nook or cranny in her house that doesn’t have something Christmas related stuck in it. And she always makes sure the house is decorated before we come over for our final Ladies Night Out of the year.

This is the time when we have our annual Christmas ornament exchange. We play dirty Santa and sometimes it can be quite hilarious, especially when people start fighting over various ornaments. For example, Myrtle loves snowmen and if she sees one she wants she goes for blood!

Every year we have a great time and it’s a nice way to end the activity. We don’t meet in December since everyone is so busy and it gives me a break from coming up with activities to do.

This year we had 23 people attend. Good thing there weren’t many more than that, because I only made 24 numbers for the dirty Santa game. Here are some photos from the night:

Dena and Janet L. pose for the camera while Marilyn is talking to csomeone out of view.
We have a lot of Janets and Janices in our group.

Pam, Cindy, Peggy and Ruth

Dessert - the most important part of the evening!

Our menu this night was Mexican Fiesta and it was delicious!

Mrs. Irma was blessed with many gifts from the ladies.

Here I'm giving the group instruction - they are paying attention so well in this photo!

The wrapped ornaments

After Erika bragged about how she was going to play dirty and steal a gift, she ended up opening one from the pile. She opened this large jewel and said she was going to take it to the jewelers to have it set.

But then it was stolen and she ended up with this beauty.

Mrs. Irma ended up with this snowman. Snowmen were a popular choice for folks this year.

This is the one I ended up with; it's also the one I brought. I didn't wrap it very pretty, and I have found when you don't wrap well, people tend not to pick your gift to open. I guess they are judging the book by its cover because I happened to like what was inside.

Myrtle was the last one to go and she didn't even steal this year! I was so disappointed in her! But she picked the last gift from the pile and guess what? It was a snowman! She was happy with it.

Giveaway #2 Winner!

Congrats, Candy! Your second prize in as many weeks! I'll bring your lotion to church tonight, and yes, you can put it in your stocking if you want. Stay tuned for more giveaways coming up.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Giveaway #2

~~~This Giveaway Is Now Closed~~~

It’s time for another Christmas Giveaway! This one isn’t for kids, it’s for you! As many of you know, I sell BeautiControl products. For those of you that don’t know, I sell BeautiControl products; so, if you ever need anything BeautiControl related, give me a buzz.

Every year for Christmas, BeautiControl comes out with some sort of “Christmas scent.” This year, it is sugar cookie! And it smells so yummy; you are sure to love it. Today, because I love the four people who read this blog, I’m giving away a sugar cookie body butter by BeautiControl (value: $20). I wish you could smell this, I really do! It smells just like a sugar cookie that folks will want to eat you up! Or at least it will make them want some cookies; I don’t want anyone to become cannibalistic over some body butter.

The contest starts now and goes until 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Wednesday is my last day at work this week, which is why the contest is ending then. I don’t know if I’ll have another opportunity to blog after Wednesday since I am cheap and don’t have internet at home. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment, tell us what your favorite lotion or bath product is. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday morning – provided I don’t forget! Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tony's Christmas: A Bust!

I don’t know about you, but I tend to put a lot of thought into my Christmas shopping. I take into consideration the person I am buying for and what their likes and dislikes are. I also try to listen to them throughout the year and pick up on things they say they like or would like to have. Not to brag, but I think I am a pretty good gift giver, and have even been told so; which brings me to today’s rant.

Tony loves The Beatles, who doesn’t? Unless you live under a rock, then you probably know that all The Beatles albums were digitally remastered this year and released on September 9, including a box set of all the albums. Knowing that Tony loves The Beatles, I decided to get this for him for Christmas. Also knowing that Tony is the most impatient, I gotta have it now, type of person that he is, I told him, “If you decide to buy this for yourself, please let me know so that I won’t buy it for you for Christmas.” After all, who wants to buy someone something that they already have? What’s the point; unless they need and asked for another one just like the other one?

So, to my knowledge, he decided not to get it. Therefore, I ordered it, received it, and wrapped it for him for Christmas. It is at my house, wrapped, let me once again emphasize.

About 30 minutes ago, Tony tells me that he “doesn’t know how this will effect Christmas,” but that he ordered it and it is now on its way to him. Shipped today. Isn’t that great? Needless to say, I was fired up. Not only did he not heed my advice and tell me that he had decided to order it for himself, but now he knows that I got it for him for Christmas. He says he is going to return his, but I’ve a good mind to go ahead and return mine as well. If this were a $20 item, I might not be as fired up as I am right now. But, the fact that this is pretty much the only gift I got him and that I spent approximately $200 on it and that I told him to tell me if he decided to order it and that he knew I was already finished shopping for him makes me so mad I can hardly see straight right now!

Since I think the only people that read this blog are girls, and maybe my dad, I decided to rant for a few minutes. What is it with men? Why do they not listen? Why do they not take your warnings into advisement? Why would they go out and spend $200 on something that they are pretty sure their girlfriend already got them for Christmas? I don’t understand it. And furthermore, while we are on the topic of Christmas, why should we have to tell our boyfriends and husbands what we want for Christmas? Shouldn’t they know us well enough to know what we would like? I have dropped hints over the past few weeks and months of things that I might like to have, and I’m willing to bet that I won’t get one of those things. If anyone ever figures out why men and women have such major communication problems, please write a book about it and share your wisdom with the rest of the world. I assure you it would be a best seller and you will become rich.

Thanks for letting me rant and I hope your Christmas shopping brings you more joy than mine has.

The Blind Side: A Review

This past Saturday, Tony and I saw “The Blind Side,” and it was AWESOME! I have been looking forward to this movie coming out ever since I first heard about it. So, it was at the top of my list this weekend.

We had heard that it had sold out on Friday; so, I went early Saturday morning and got our tickets for the 7:25 p.m. showing. We arrived at 7:00, and the theater was already packed! We were lucky enough to find a seat in the middle section a few rows up, which is where we would normally sit. Our showing was sold out so needless to say, the place was crowded.

If you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what this movie is about, then let me briefly fill you in. The movie is based on the book, “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game,” by Michael Lewis. The book (and film) is about the life of Michael Oher, current right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. Oher was taken away from his drug-addicted mother and became a ward of the state. He ended up at a private school in Memphis.

By an extraordinary set of circumstances, Oher was taken in by the Tuohy family, who eventually became his legal guardians.

I won’t go into any more detail here, but this movie is really heart-warming and touching – bring a tissue with you if you go! I started crying (I think) in the opening scene and cried on and off throughout the whole movie. That’s not to say it’s depressing, because it’s not; it is an amazing story about love. If more people in this world were like the Tuohy family, the world would be a much better place in which to live.

This is one that you don’t want to miss. Go see it!

Tony's take: pretty good

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Congrats Winners!

Man, this blog gets a lot of hits! Nat had a whopping two comments on the first Christmas Giveaway for this holiday season. Since I go to church with the only two commenters, Sara and Candy, I chatted with these gals last night about which prize they wanted since they both registered to win the same prize. So, Sara is graciously taking the Scatterpiller Scramble game and Candy wins the Girraffalaff Limbo! Congrats gals! I’ll bring your winnings to church with me on Sunday provided I don’t forget.

Stay tuned for future giveaways folks, and hopefully something entertaining will happen in the next few days so that I will have something to write about!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Nat's First Christmas Giveaway!

~~~This Giveaway is Closed - Stayed Tuned for the Next One~~~

Are you ready for Christmas? There are only 38 shopping days left until Christmas. Can you believe it? Thankfully I am almost done with my Christmas shopping. I just have a few gift cards to pick up and a couple of gifts and I will be done! This may be the earliest I have ever completed my shopping and I am really proud of myself.

As mentioned in a previous post, I am planning a few giveaways for this Christmas season. I’m going to start things off today with a giveaway for those of you that need a gift for preschoolers.

There will be two winners for this giveaway. Are you ready for the details? One winner will receive GIRAFFALAFF LIMBO (ages 3+), and the other winner will receive SCATATERPILLER SCRAMBLE (ages 4+). Both of these games can be found on Amazon or by doing a Google search if you want to know more.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. Tell us how far along you are in your Christmas shopping and which of the two games you would like to win. The contest will remain open until 7:00 a.m. Central Time on Thursday morning, at which time two winners will be chosen using Winners will be announced some time on Thursday morning.

Best of luck to everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Fall - Enjoy It!

Fall is in full swing –hard to believe, isn’t it? It seems like it just started a couple of weeks ago. I had been waiting for the leaves to change and then when I woke from my influenza induced coma, I realized that they had changed while I was sick and many of the leaves have already fallen. I missed some of the prettier colors this year. I had planned to take my camera and capture some of the leaves this year, but never got an opportunity.

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away – are you ready? My dad and I have got to start planning. We have made a few plans, but only scratched the surface. We still have quite a bit to do before Turkey Day arrives.

One of the many things I love most about this time of year is that the grocery stores have so many great deals on baking items. I usually have one Crisco that I’m using and one as a back up. I was at Wal-Mart this week, and it was on sale for $2.00 and I had a coupon for 55 cents off so I went ahead and got another one. I couldn’t pass up that offer. They also had a great deal on Campbell’s cooking soups – normally $1.68, they were only 58 cents!! Holy moly – I had to buy four – I had a coupon for those too! Be sure and check out your local grocer for the great deals they have in store for this baking season. I sometimes wish that baking season lasted all year long, but then it wouldn’t be as special I guess.

Speaking of specials, I’m including the link to three great blogs below. These blogs are all about money saving tips and coupons and I visit them daily! I have been made aware of so many great offers thanks to these blogs and I know they have helped me save a lot of money. They also offer giveaways from time-to-time and I’ve won a couple of these, which is always nice.

And, speaking of giveaways, be sure and check in with The Chronicles of Nat throughout December. I’ve got some giveaways of my own planned.

Hope everyone has a really great day!

Adam's Baptism

Just when you think you’ve said goodbye for good, fate intervenes. Monday night I was out and about running errands to kill some time before I met my aunt Linda and our visitation group for dinner at Logan’s when I received a call. The call was from a lady at church telling me that Adam Goode was going to be baptized at (what we now refer to as) the old building and that he wanted me to be there.

So, I headed home, changed clothes, and grabbed my camera and a few minutes later headed to “the old building.”

Adam Goode is 16 years old. I have known him since he was conceived and was at the hospital the day he was born – wearing my Winn-Dixie cashier’s uniform no doubt since I had to be at work later that day. My parents have known Adam’s parents since before I was born, and Adam’s parents have been like another set of parents to me. I like to think of Adam as my younger brother, although if you ask him, he won’t agree to that statement – maybe I’m embarrassing?

I am so happy for Adam and his decision and also for his parents. I know how proud they are of him. I certainly am! I was so thankful that Adam was able to be baptized at “the old building.” What a wonderful note to end an era.

I couldn’t help but think of my own brother during this time; and if you are familiar with my brother and his struggles in life, then you will know that it was very emotional for me. My brother was baptized in that same baptistery and this baptism brought me back to that day.

I am thankful; not only for Adam’s decision, but also that his decision gave me one more opportunity to walk through the doors of a place I hold so dear to my heart.

To top it off, some folks sat in “their pews” for a last minute impromptu photo opportunity. Here they are:

Jim and Irma - they've sat here for about 50 years - they were founding members of Memorial Parkway.

My parents - my mother usually wears real clothes and not a robe to church in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Closing The Doors

The church I attend has moved. It’s really odd. I have gone to church at this building since I was about five years old. They only times I didn’t attend here were when I was away for my senior year of high school, my college years, and when I lived in New York and North Carolina. But, other than that, it’s where I’ve always gone and it’s like a second home to me.

This past Sunday, November 8, we had our last worship service at the building. Oddly enough, I didn’t cry like I thought I would. It probably had something to do with being sick. Narcotic cough medicine can change one’s perspective.

It feels as though I’m leaving behind a part of myself. For over 50 years our congregation has been worshipping at this spot. I’m not sure my car will know how to drive somewhere else.

This is the place where I found two of the best friends in the world!

This is the place where I have helped prepare many meals.

This is the place where I have eaten many meals.

This is the place where I have held many babies – some of whom now have babies of their own! (Nat is gettin’ old!)

From this pulpit I have heard many sermons – some good, some not so good.

This is where I was baptized, and so was my brother.

This is the hallway where I have walked to many, many classes.

This is the classroom where I have spent my Sunday mornings for the past six years, learning from a group of ladies who are older and much, much wiser than me.

This is the classroom where I have molded young minds on Wednesday nights.

The future, I’m sure will be bright; but change is always difficult, whether one wants to admit it or not. Here's to hoping the next 50 plus years at a new location will be as memorable and wonderful as the past 50 plus years at this location.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nat's Been Sick

This is Nat and I've been sick with the flu. I just wanted you readers to know that I am still alive and hope to have something fun to write about soon. Until then...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009!

This past Saturday was Halloween, in case you didn’t know. Jackie was sans kids and I was sans Tony, so she came over and I cooked Chicken Parmesan while we waited for the trick-or-treaters to come. I love trick-or-treaters! I love trick-or-treating! I had 13 trick-or-treaters this year; that’s about normal for me. Kids just don’t seem to trick-or-treat in the mass numbers they did when I was a kid. I don’t get it. I was happy for the 13 kids I did have and the folks at work are happy to have my leftover candy.

The funniest thing about the night was that three of my pumpkins got stolen. I had bought two large carving pumpkins and two pie pumpkins and they have been sitting on my porch since the first of October. I carved one of the pumpkins (one of my favorite Halloween activities) and let the others on the porch untouched. In all my 32 years on this earth, I have never had a pumpkin stolen; at least, not that I’m aware of. When I was a young child, we may have had a pumpkin stolen but I don’t remember it. After we ate dinner, Jackie noticed that “Scream” was coming on TV. I think by now you all probably know that Jackie loves the scary stuff and I hate it. But, since I had seen “Scream” before I decided it would be okay to watch. Well, it was apparently while we were watching this movie, oblivious to the world around us, that these three pumpkins were stolen. They thieves were kind enough to leave my carved pumpkin on the porch. I just think it is hilarious that we were sitting right there with the door wide open while these folks came up and took the pumpkins right off my porch. We were obviously engrossed in the movie.

Here are some photos of Halloween night:

My witch pumpkin

Same pumpkin

Last one

A couple of trick-or-treaters

Two more trick-or-treaters

Here I am with a couple of high school trick-or-treaters.
For some reason this photo cracks me up.
Hope it gives you a good laugh too!