Friday, November 30, 2007


Okay. Here's the deal:

Last night when I came home from the Christmas tea, Mr. Jones had our laptop up and running. He went to this blog to see how I had posted Christopher's birthday. When he brought up that particular entry, two of the fourteen pictures of Christopher were missing! On our laptop, the picture of Chris at Union Station plus the picture of Chris at Bigg's Air Field are not there! These were the last two pictures of the post. The captions are there, but not the pictures! I immediately went into my office, fired up my computer and when I brought up my blog, everything was exactly as it should be -- all fourteen of the pictures showed up. I even went into Edit mode and made sure they were just as I had placed them. So last night, I felt a little bit better about it, thinking perhaps our laptop was sickly or some such thing. But this morning, Mr. Jones got on his desktop, brought up my blog, went to Christopher's birthday entry, and both pictures were missing again!

So this is my question: When you bring up this blog, do you have the two pictures of Christopher? If you don't, what do you suppose has happened to them out there in cyberspace? I am completely baffled by this and really annoyed! Without those two pictures, there are three captions, but only one picture -- which looks really lame! I brought my blog up again this morning, and all of the pictures are exactly right -- but not on Mr. Joneses desktop or our laptop! (Perhaps it is something to do with Mr. Jones?) How is this possible?!!!! Please leave a comment. It will just take you a tiny second to do so ... thanks :)

Christmas Candlelight Celebration

I received a call earlier this week from our dear friend, Karen. It was so good to hear from her and to talk with her. I met Karen years ago; in fact, it was while I was in the hospital, right after Jesse was born! It's a long story, but over the years, she has made such a wonderful difference in my life and in the lives of all of my family. When our children were very young, they were playmates, and they have the funniest memories of each other! When Karen called this week, we hadn't talked in several months; so we did our usual nonstop 100 mph catch-up conversation (which I love) and then she invited me to a Christmas tea that was being held at Sunshine Church last night. Karen's mom was hosting a table, and there was room for one more to join them, and I got to be that person! I took a few snapshots so you could see how beautifully the women decorated the tables.
Each hostess decorated with their own Christmas plates, candles and desserts. The tables were all so different, and the colors so beautiful! Look at that beautiful dessert!
I would love to have a bowl like that, wouldn't you?
And this was our table -- with Nutcrackers all around!
Micah and Olivia (two of Karen's children)
danced The Nutcracker with the Grand Rapids Ballet
for many years ...
The guest speaker for the evening was Carol Kent. Her topic was, "Celebrate! He is our Hope!" Last year, I had read her book, "When I Lay My Isaac Down." It was a real pleasure to actually see the face of the woman behind this incredibly tragic story. I think it is probably one of the saddest stories I have ever heard; but yet, one of the sweetest stories of the faithfulness of God through it all. Carol Kent is a woman of true courage and faith. Her talk was very challenging but also comforting, as she reaffirmed over and over again that the love of Christ gives such hope to a broken heart. This is the Scripture she referred us to:

"May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,
so that you may overflow with hope
by the Holy Spirit."

ROMANS 15:13
Marie, Brittni, and Karen

Then it was time for dessert! We had amazing almond tarts and the very best cherry pie ever! And Christmas tea (sweetened, of course)! It was so much fun talking with Marie and seeing Brittni too. They are such beautiful girls.But the best part for me was just being with Karen. Any place where she is, is a better place, a happier place -- just because she is there! I love to laugh with her and share in her joy of the Lord.

"Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before Him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christopher James is four today!

I love this picture of Christopher!
We took a lot of pictures on our most recent
trip to see everyone.
I think this is my favorite one of Chris.
He is all ready for bed, after having just brushed his teeth,
and showing us how clean his teeth are.
It seems like just last week you were TWO!
How can you be four already?

Christopher "jazzing up" the xylophone at our house

And isn't he the happiest little
ferocious lion you have ever seen?
Christopher helped rake leaves (Spring 2006) ...
but mostly he dug in the dirt at the bottom
of our driveway
Here he is really enjoying Thomas K!
This is one of my very favorite pictures of Christopher ...
but I have a TON of really favorite pictures of him!
This was taken at our July 2007 visit to El Paso
(We had flown down at the end of July to say good-bye to Jesse)
Saluting the flag, like a good son of a soldier!

At Union Station in El Paso (left)
Stenciling pictures with us (right)
At the Air Show at Biggs Air Field
September 2007
These are just some of the beautiful pictures of our Christopher. He is a rough-and-tumble, all boy kind of a kiddo and we love him very much. I used to call him my "little Spanky" (when he was in his terrific two's) because he was such an imp. He is growing up much too fast! We send him all of our love on this his fourth birthday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our miniature family Christmas tree

I continued decorating the Jones Junction today and decided to work on our miniature family Christmas tree. Everyone in this family has a name-designated ornament or two that hangs on this tree. I also have small frame ornaments that I put each grandchild's picture in. So first, I had to update all of the pictures! Last year's pictures wouldn't do at all! Nia Madelynn was almost not thought of at that point, and Karis was still a wee babe ... and everyone had changed and grown up so much this year!

The Houston (Webster) grandchildren, the Ft. Bliss (El Paso) grandkiddos, and the Austin grandkids!

I took a lot of time scanning through all of the hundreds of recent pictures on my computer and then deciding which ones to use in the frames. We have so many great pictures of all of the children -- it was really hard to pick just one picture of each of them!
The tree sits on the "hutch" in our dining room. It will be fun to enjoy this tree for the weeks preceding Christmas, anticipating each of you "coming home" for the holidays.
Don't we have beautiful grandchildren? :)
Oh the happiest Christmas
Is a homecoming Christmas
With the snow fluttering down 'til the world seems new.
Bright candles burning
Old friends returning
The wishes of children coming true.
And the happiest wishes are just old-fashioned wishes
May your days be merry, your sorrows be small
May the ones you love be near you
s the happiest Christmas of all!
by Myles Rudge and Ted Dicks

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas is four weeks from tomorrow!

I had the best day! I know is SEEMS early, but I began decorating our house for Christmas today. This Saturday, our LOGOS class from Calvary is going out to dinner together and then everyone is coming over to our place for dessert; so I want the house all ready for Christmas. I love Christmas. I love everything about it. I can ignore the commercialism -- it doesn't bother me! I don't really have to involve myself with that very much. I can go to any mall or shopping center and the music is about Jesus! People are humming tunes about MY Savior, and so that makes me really happy!
I decided I would start by putting the tree up today. Last year when I was putting away the decorations, I organized all of the Christmas tree ornaments and fit them completely into two bins. Having everything I needed in just two bins was really helpful! I totally finished the tree tonight.
About two or three years ago, I decided to make our Christmas tree all about Jesus and the wonderful things He has made. So our tree has lots of nativities, flowers, birds, angels, stars, pine cones, wise men, words that praise Him -- and I love it this way. There is something about mixing Jesus and Santa together that never sat well with me, even as a little kid. I just never needed Santa I guess. I had Jesus, after all, and what better gift could there be?

Hebrews 1:1-3 "Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down at the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven."

The entire time I was decorating the tree, I played my favorite Christmas albums. Mr. Jones complained about the music being a bit loud, so I had to turn it down some -- but I didn't care. I just wanted the songs to completely fill the house, remind me of His great love for all of us, and worship Him! I never get tired of hearing His love story.
This is the angel that tops our tree. I think she/he is very beautiful. I love to think about the night the angel announced the Good News!

Luke 2:13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”

Hebrews 1:6 …when he presented his honored Son to the world, God said, “Let all the angels of heaven worship him.”

“Glory!” sang the angel chorus
“Glory!” echoed back the night
Love has come to walk among us
Christ the LORD is born this night.

Words: Gloria Gaither
Music: Michael W. Smith]
I had a great time putting up the tree today. I also put the candles in the windows and lit them tonight -- how pretty it is! I'm so thankful this season is upon us. What a great time to think about and be thankful for all He has done for us. I plan to replay His story in music, with lights and pretty ornaments, in beautiful books, and in the fellowship of family and friends for the entire four weeks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thomas the stuffed cat ...

I have always loved stuffed animals ... for as long as I can remember!
Last spring, after Nana married Roy,
I was helping her get ready to move into Roy's house.
Nana kept saying she had too much stuff!
We made piles for Goodwill, loaded up boxes for storage,
and trashed a lot of things as well ...
but when she suggested throwing away stuffed animals (!)
I decided to "rescue" a few ...
Nana had a bunch of Boyds Bears, so I grabbed some
to bring to my house to join other animals who already lived here!
This basket of animals sits in my living room
between the cedar chest and the fireplace.
Look at the cute little bear all dressed up like a nurse
(I hope that wasn't a gift from Sabrina to Nana --
Nana sometimes has a faulty memory of gifts given to her).
Dylan and I were visiting in the living room after church
this morning and we noticed an addition to the basket!
See how Thomas K. kicked out Little Lion to make room for himself?
(Little Lion used to be Christopher's favorite
stuffed animal -- he even rode in Grandma's car
in the cupholder of Chris's child seat!)
Daddy Bear doesn't look too keen on this ...
I think he is a little bit squished by Thomas K!
I had purchased a special bed for Tommie --
but do you think he ever once slept there?
I put Little Lion back in the basket
and quietly gave thanks that I was able
to see Christopher, as well as Matthew,
yesterday on my WebCam (and Emma too) ...
We held Thomas up to the WebCam for them to see,
but he is SO black, I'm not sure they could see him!
When you come to Grandma's house
during Christmas, all of you sweet grandchildren,
we'll get all of the animals
together and make up some good stories with them, Okay?
Thomas had slept long enough ...
he finally yawned, stretched, and decided
he'd had enough of being a stuffed animal for one day,
and went into the kitchen begging for his cream ...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Sweet Relief!

Look who I got to see tonight? My very own Emma Joy! And she could see me too! We were SO HAPPY! Thanks, Diana, for making this possible! Thanks, Lord, for the joy of seeing her sweet little face.
We sent messages of love to each other, through Diana, who was kind enough to type Emma's words! :) We sent hugs and blew kisses -- and then Grandpa Jones was summoned (by Emma) to come to the camera too! She had a very big smile when she saw him! Christopher and Matthew were already in bed for the night, but Emma was up a little later so we got to spend some time together. Diana said if we connect tomorrow, the boys can get in the camera and we can all "talk" together. This is very cool. I am liking it very much! It was nice to see you, too, Diana. Diana and the children are still hoping to get home to Grand Rapids for Christmas. We are praying to that end as well. Just a few more weeks and everyone could be right here with us! What a blessing that will be!

Giving thanks in Detroit

Would you like a little peek into our Thanksgiving yesterday? I thought so! We had an especially nice day and I'd like to share it with you. Nana and Roy came over to our house, and we all left Grand Rapids together at about 8:15. We had been concerned about the forecasted snow from the prior night; but as you saw in my prior post, we really didn't get any accumulating snow to speak of in Grand Rapids. However, Mr. Jones is a very cautious driver -- and am I glad! We no sooner got on the expressway but we passed a really bad accident on the first overpass! You know all of those annoying signs you see in the summer -- "Bridge May be Icy" -- yes! The bridges WERE icy. We saw many accidents! We actually encountered quite a bit of snow just outside Grand Rapids. It was the kind of pristine beauty that practically takes your breath away. I so wanted to eject myself from the front seat of the van and walk on out in the woods to get some pictures. All the trees were etched in white, the fields sparkled, the sky was a misty foggy kind of gray (the kind of sky I especially love), and everywhere I looked was a bit of magic ...

We arrived at Ruthanne's at 11:30, having made very good time. She and Terry actually live in Clinton Township, which is east of Detroit. Sometimes when I tell people that I am from Detroit, they think all of those negative thoughts about the Crime Capital of the USA, etc. Clinton Township is a very nice area to live, and I have always loved my sister's house -- Look! Isn't it so beautiful?
Lunch was to be served at 1:00, so we had plenty of time to visit with everyone. Shelley and Bob and Matthew were there early too. I love watching Bob dote on his little boy. There is such love there!
Matthew was drinking Bob's water and smacking his lips and saying, "Ahhhhhh" afterwards. Matthew is quite good at imitating almost any sound, action, sentence, etc. He's a little ham!
Isn't that such a cute picture? I love how Bob is looking at Matthew. How thankful he is for this little boy.
Ruthanne was showing Matthew a little movie that she has of him on her camera. He loves to see it over and over again.
My niece, Shari, called and we all got to talk with her for awhile too! She and her husband, Mark, live in North Carolina and both have pretty demanding jobs. Shari hasn't been home to Michigan in over two years now -- since Matthew was about one or two weeks old. We passed the phone around and all got to talk with her -- how nice! Actually, see the wedding picture there on the window seat? That's Shari and Mark!
Matthew had brought one of his cool train sets along so that he would have something of his to play with. Grandpa Jones thought this set was pretty nice, and he and Matthew talked trains for awhile. See how he has the train lined up and then on the grass, he has all of his little planes in a row? I asked Matthew if we were going to have an Air Show today and he told me, "Nope. Just watching trains today." So see? JayJay, Herky, Tracy and Snuffy (the planes) are all train spotting with Matthew, and enjoying their day hugely.
Mr. Jones and I brought our laptop along so that we could try to connect to MSMessenger and talk to Jesse for a little while. We tried to connect via the wireless at the house, but a password was needed and nobody seemed to know what it was -- so Plan B!
We connected our laptop with a cable to Ruthanne and Terry's computer, and we were all set! We logged on to see if Jesse was there, but he was out right then. After we ate our lunch, we did successfully connect with him -- but more about that later.
Ruthanne had a nice plate of appetizers for us while we waited for dinner to be ready. She made the best turkey and stuffing I have ever tasted! The meat was moist and wonderful; the gravy was brown and rich and so yummy; she made the sweetest sweet potato casserole ever! Plus, her green been casserole was superb, her pumpkin bread and rolls were perfect, AND she had a beautiful fruit bowl that everyone enjoyed (all of the folk, that is, who eat fruit!). It takes a lot of work to put a huge meal like this together. To say it was delicious is true -- but it isn't enough. I'll just say that every single one of my taste buds were highly pleased!
I love the way this table opens up -- it sat all 10 of us very comfortably. Matthew sat with us almost all the way through our dinner and seemed to enjoy all of our conversation. And then dinner was over! Why is it that it takes only 30 minutes to eat a meal that took two days to prepare? That doesn't seem right, but it happens every year, no matter what you do!
After dinner, we found that Jesse was on-line and we had so much fun talking to him! Since we had our laptop and it has a Webcam, I told Jesse that we had it and had never used it. So he very nicely told me three simple steps to do, and VOILA! Our Webcam's blue light was lit and Jesse could see us! We could see him! Isn't that incredible! Technology is so amazing. We each took turns talking to Jesse. I think we were Online with him for close to an hour. I can't even express my thankfulness at how much that meant to me. As we were saying good-bye, I put my hand up so Jesse could see me waving, and he put his hand up so I could see him waving and then we touched our screens -- and it was like for just a tiny minute I could feel him right there with me. And then, of course, I got teary ... but they were good tears mostly.
This is Nana asking Shelley to help her learn how to use her new cell phone. She can't ask me because I don't know anything about using cell phones or anything else technical. Isn't this a cute picture of them? Shelley is my mom's first grandchild and she has a special love for her ... like I feel about my Emma I think ...
Shelley is a good teacher! I think Nana learned how to do a few things on her phone ... if she remembers how to, that is.
Meanwhile, up in the living room I kept hearing a tiny voice singing and talking ... no one was up there except Matthew -- so I snuck up on the stairway to see what I could see. There he was with a box of toys, trying on different hats, talking and singing and entertaining himself! Isn't he so cute?
Later on, Matthew came down to the family room to see all of us. Here he is with his grandpa (who adores him -- and who he adores!) cracking up about something on the computer.
I snapped a lot of pictures of Nana and Roy together. I'm trying to get a good enough one to frame and hang in our house; plus, Nana wants me to make her copies so that she can put a small snapshot of them in each of her Christmas cards -- there are so many people in our family who haven't had the opportunity to meet Roy! Nana wants them to see the handsome husband she has! He is the sweetest man, and mom has been so happy with him.
We had our dessert at about 4:15. Nana had brought pumpkin and apple pies, and I had baked my pumpkin spice cake. We ate way too much (of course!), but it was SO yummy. Afterwards, we all sat around again and just enjoyed each other's company.
Matthew missed out on taking his nap, but he did really well anyway. All of us were sleepy and ready for naps for sure! But before we knew it, and much too soon, it was time to head back to Grand Rapids. We promised to see each other again soon. It was so nice to be there for Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for having us over!