Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolution

Truth is we all make promises we don't keep.  New Years Resolutions are the worst.  Last year I made one.  To get up early every morning and spend time with God.  I started a prayer journal and I also journaled several books of the Bible.  God helped me keep this up all year and I intend to do it again.  It is the first resolution I have kept in my 56 years of opportunity.

This year I am doing an extra journal about my favorite chapters in the Bible.  What they personally mean to me in 2010.  I am looking forward to the journey. 

There are so many things I want to do and wish I had the fortitude to finish.  One is to lose 40 pounds.  So I will give in yet another try.  But the one thing I really want to do is wait for God. I opened my Bible this morning as I began to organize my new 2010 journals and I found this text. Maybe this will explain what I mean by "wait for God."  Psalm 62:5-8.

"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us,  Selah."

I want to do this throughout the coming year.  There is much happening with my daughter going back to college and I will have to take care of her boys.  Also, my sister-in law and her husband are moving here to run Mountain Air Oxygen Service, Inc.  It will be wonderful to have them.  We are in the middle of remodeling our home and need to get that job completed.  There are other changes coming and I need to hit them head on with this text in mind. 

I look forward to a wonderful year and praise God that He is my rock and refuge.  I hope that you will also have a very blessed 2010 and that God's glory shines abundantly on you to light your way.

Keep searching. It's an adventure! You'll be surprised what you find!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family and Friends

We had a wonderful time with family and friends this Christmas. As some of you may know we decided not to get gifts for each other. We bought gifts for the babies but that was it.  It really took the pressure off and we just plain enjoyed being together.  We invited friends over too.  It was great.

We all enjoyed the kids opening their toys and then getting down on the floor and making the biggest train set ever.  Everyone got into how it should be done. The baby kept crawling over the track and grabbing the engines off and the three year old kept re-arranging the track. Uncle Josh really got into the whole thing by seeing if he could use up all the track and make trains collide.  Nothing like a good collision to make your day.

The Kanen Luck

The Kanen luck has never been good. Don paid this guys insurance for him.  He works on some of Don's projects.  The guy was supposed to pay him back. He never did.

About three months ago our house was broken into while we were in California visiting my folks.  We never locked our house except when we were gone. We were gone.  They stole our TV, video machine, IPOD, silver, violin, slippers (it was cold that night), social security cards, passports, birth certificates, and were in the process of getting the computer when they were interrupted by someone and fled.  I'm sure they will come back for it.

Don took the kids swimming the other night.  He left his bag on the table for a few minutes and some kid took it. They got his wallet, cell phone, Columbia ski jacket, all in a nice leather bag.  Don has to fly out to meet his sister to help her move back here and now he can't get on the plane because he doesn't have any photo IDs.

We heard on the news this morning that some guy got passed airport security with explosives.  He tried to blow up a plane and only succeeded in burning himself badly in a very private area.  So I guess you can be an American, pay taxes, go to church, give generously to others, be patriotic and have all your possessions stolen and not be able to get on a plane.  I think Don should change his religion, wear a robe and turbin, grow a beard and strap on a fake suicide belt around his waist. Then he would be able to get on the plane no problem. What do you think?

By the way, we got our check from insurance to cover all the stolen stuff and had to just fork it over to the IRS for taxes basically because the contractor guy never paid us back the money he owed us.  We would have used it for taxes.  We won't be replacing anything for quite awhile. So goes the Kanen luck.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Gumball Machine

Sebby is in the middle of potty training.  He can do it, he is just lazy.  He would rather poop or pee and walk around with it for awhile.  I don't really know what the attachment to this is, but it is something.  I have tried everything and so has Casey.  Finally for Christmas today Sebby got a Gumball Machine from his mommy. He gets to put a penny in and get a gumball when he does his business in the potty.

After awhile he says to me, "I'm poopy gamma!" 

"Oh, that is too bad."  I responded.  I was about to tell him about his gumball machine when the light came on.  "Ohhh!  I need to poopy in the potty so I can get gum.  Where is my gum machine?"  We went and retrieved the machine from under the tree, opened it up and set it on the counter.  He ran into the bathroom and hopped on the potty.  After much grunting, red eyes, and groaning out came a raisn size piece.  "I did it!! I need a penny to get my gum!" 

Well most of it was in the diaper but he did remember and he did get some in the right place.  So we went to get a penny and he got his reward.  About two hours later, there he was again working hard.  I asked how he was doing.  He pointed to the door, "Go out!"  Well, I guess this has become a private thing which is just fine with me.  Oh, yes....he did get another gumball.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Gift

My nephew BJ (Benjamin James) is in prison.  He took a dare and downloaded stuff from lime wire that was inappropriate and  got caught doing this at work.  California has very strict laws about this kind of stuff and the DA decided to make an example of him.  He got five years. 

I don't think Benjamin ever thought he would end up in prison.  None of the family did.  But it happened.  Never having faced anything remotely like this it was difficult for the entire family including uncles and aunts and cousins.  Everyone responded with positive actions, prayer, and letters. 

James comes from a very artistic family and though he may have tried his hand at art before prison, he didn't fine tune the skill until now.  Maybe it is because he has time and isn't wasting it in front of the computer.  In any case, he isn't allowed to have anything much in prison.  So he became creative and with minimal materials he made one of the most beautiful Christmas gifts I have ever seen.  My mom, Gramma Anne, had sent a  picture of her and Grandpa Paul at their 60th wedding anniversary party. He drew that picture and it looks just like them.  Then he drew on the manila envelope with calligraphy the address and also drew a red ribbon with holly attached so it looks like wrapping.  Then he mailed it to them with words written across the back, "Don't Open Until Christmas!" My parents were overwhelmed.  This gift cost a few pennies but the amount of time invested in it was very much appreciated.

I have been writing to James and sending him some of my Bible journals.  He uses them to have Bible Studies with other inmates and has been very grateful for the journals and letters.  Sometimes I send him  pictures.  Being in prison has changed him dramatically.  I think when he gets out he will definitly be a better person.  I am continuing to pray for him and would be grateful if you would to.  Thanks.

Starbuck Memories

This is one of my favorite pictures.  Don is a wonderful Grandpa.  Sebby and Davy are his buddies.  Don loves going to Starbucks and getting a latte while Sebby has his "coffee" (a kids hot chocolate).  They sit there and talk like a couple of old men shooting the breeze and spending the morning in the company of a pal.  It is just the manly thing to do.  Love it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake With Amaretto Icing

Okay, here it is.  Some of you have asked for this recipe.  It is fabulous!

Coffee Cake:

1 box Krustez Almond Poppy Seed Muffin Mix
1 egg
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

 1 c confectioners sugar
1/4 c Amaretto (Substitute 2 tsp. Almond flavoring and remainder of liquid with either water or milk.)

Stir sugar and amaretto together until smooth. Drizzle on top of cake.


1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 pint fresh raspberries (optional)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Place Muffin Mix in mixing bowl.  Add beaten egg, sour cream, milk.  Mix until blended.  Fold in blueberries.
Batter will be thick,  Grease hands lightly and spread batter in a pie pan or tart pan that has been lined with parchment paper on the bottom and sprayed with vegetable spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until brown and knife come out clean. Turn out coffee cake onto round serving platter and let cool.  Drizzle with Amaretto glaze.  Top with chopped walnuts. Place fresh raspberries on each serving.  Serves 6-8.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

TP Holders

There is this really neat invention that has been around for mega years. It is called a toilet paper roll holder. I think every house has one or several. Even out houses have 'em. It doesn't matter if you put the TP to roll over the top or pull from the bottom. It works either way. That is why I will never understand my family that will use the last bit of TP, get out a new roll, and set it on the counter, floor, back of toilet, edge of tub, or wherever. It will sit there or change places throughout the week until that roll is used up. It is left lying where it was last used and a new roll is set on the counter. How hard is it to remove the cardboard roll and place the new roll on it. The trash can is right under the holder too. If I would let it happen, the bathroom, over time, would end up like one of those ball play areas at McDonalds or Burger King, only in cardboard TP rolls. Maybe we have a new idea brewing here.

Man in Training

My husband, Don, loves taking his Sebby out and teaching him how do do things. Yesterday, after church, Casey noticed that her car had a flat tire. Don took us all home and dropped us off. He grabbed what tools he needed and told Sebby, "Come on son. We men have to go fix mommy's flat tire." Without question and feeling very important to be with Grandpa Sebby donned his hat and coat and got into his car seat.

While there Sebby paid careful attention to what Grandpa said and did. I think being a Grandparent is like getting a second chance. We are more patient than we were with our kids. We are wiser and far less selfish. We understand more of what it takes to be a positive influence. I wish we had this knowledge when our kids were little. But like all new parents we had to learn on the job. Our kids turned out great, in spite of our "learning process". And now, we get to enjoy the fun part - Grandkids!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Where Is the Milk?

Sebby likes his milk. The other day he said, "Gramma, I want milk." I told him I didn't have any milk and I would have to go to the store to get more. He informed me that I did have milk. "Gramma, you do too! It is in the frigalator!" I looked in there and sure enough his cup of milk was in the frigalator.

Smoochies On the Computer Screen.

Kids can be so loving, especially when they are very small. They aren't inhibited. I love the webcam. Since I can't be close to my granddaughter we "skype" often with webcams. She knows me and we play "Patty Cake" and "So Big". We can play picture cards. I hold up the card and she tells me what it is in the picture.

When it is time to say goodbye I tell her to blow me a kiss. She can do this, but she did one better. She got right up to the screen and kissed my face. I know that left big smoochy marks on my daughter's computer screen, but I don't care. If it is my screen I would never wash it off.

Performance or Disaster

I am the Bell Choir Director at Sunshine Christian School. This year I basically have a new group of "musicians". I don't think you can really call them that since we have been practicing since the first of the year on three songs and they don't sound anything like the titles. We always begin the year with music theory and learning basic notes and counting. Bells are fairly simple to learn. The hard part is playing together in a group.

I have learned that there are those who are tone deaf and can't count at an even speed. I have been teaching for about 18 years and this is the toughest group I have had to teach. I picked the easiest pieces that only play whole notes. I have had them clapping, stomping, marching in time, crawling, tapping their feet and a slew of other exercises to get them to feel the beat. Then I got the bright idea to have them sing the music so people would know what we were playing. What made me think that they could sing? Half the choir sang in monotone. I had just let myself in to teaching voice lessons to tone deaf kids. This was going from bad to worse.

The day before the Christmas program, I tired to go over and over the pieces hoping that through shear repetition they would get it. But the term "Practice Makes Permanent" is true. That plan backfired!

The only thing left to do was pray. I didn't want to be embarrassed and I didn't want the kids to feel like failures so that they didn't enjoy coming to bell practice anymore.

When the bell performance finally came we stood and took our places. Three things the kids are supposed to do right before I raise my hands. Check music, check bells, and look at me. Grip, lift, one, two, three......ooooo sour note. Someone had picked up the wrong bell. Interestingly enough it sounded kinda weirdly belonging there. I just kept going. I asked the audience to sing along with us and that helped cover it up somewhat. The next song was better, and they actually played Jingle Bells correctly!

After the performance people came up and said how much they enjoyed the bells. That they were the high light of the evening. If they only knew......fortunately they don't! Good job kids.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Gingerbread Express

One of the most fun things I was privileged to be involved in this Christmas was the Gingerbread Express. It was a fundraiser for Sunshine Christian School that involved taking a ride on The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, picking up the Gingerbread Man and returning to the station where upon disembarking the Gingerbread Man lead those that took the ride to the Gingerbread Forest. There you could see the Gingerbread house and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while Jim Moon, a musician and pastor, sang the Gingerbread Man song that he wrote for the occasion.

The Gingerbread Forest was set up in a large warehouse that used to be a repair shop for trains. The forest was lined with trees that were covered in lights and candy canes and lolly pops decorated the walkway. The Gingerbread Man danced around the forest to places where one could have their picture taken. There were gift bags given to each of the kids that rode the train that contained candy and a Gingerbread Man craft pin. "Snow" lined the walk way and snow flakes hung from the ceiling. Christmas music played in the background. There was even a Gingerbread House contest that people could vote for their favorite one. It was truly magical.

My grandson, Sebby, was so excited. He loves trains. "I have to get my hat and glubs Gramma." It was cold out there, but he had so much fun. And when the Gingerbread Man gave him a big hug he was thrilled. He would just stare at him in awe. Later in the forest he saw the Gingerbread Man again and said, "Gramma, that is MY Gingerbread Man."

Since I was on the planning committee I took pictures as well. When the train left the station I drove to the crossing and got out to take pictures. Sebby was on the train with Mommy. He looked out the window and said, "Hey, wait a minute! That's Gramma!" At least he recognized me.

I can hardly wait to do this again next year.

I absolutely love being a "Gamma". The first time my Granddaughter said "Gamma" I just melted. Now this is coming from someone who definitely doesn't want to get old. I didn't think that I wanted to be called that old name. But when it finally came....oh my melting heart! There is nothing more precious to me than my grandkids saying "Gamma." And the first time I heard them say, "Gamma, I wuv you", you could have seen my heart glow out of my chest.

I was fortunate to be present while two of my grand-babies were born. The joy and the miracle of birth never ceases to amaze me. When my first grandson was born, though I wasn't able to see the delivery itself, I was standing outside the door and when I heard that first cry I was so overwhelmed that tears just ran down my cheeks. I was overjoyed to have such a beautiful grandson.

My oldest daughter is expecting a girl in March of 2010. I will get to attend that birth also if all goes well. I can hardly wait. I asked my son-in-law how long I could stay because one knows that having a mother-in-law around too long can be, well, not desireable. Bless his big beautiful heart! He said I could stay as long as I wanted. Well, I won't move in but I can stay several weeks to help my daughter get back on her feet and adjusted to the new little one. Having a two year old also will really be a challenge.

All of my grandkids are so beautiful. You'll see them, because I can't get enough of taking pictures of them.

Each new day brings new joys. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family.