Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008!

I am alone in a little cabin in the woods, watching the ball fall in Times Square, New York, toasting in the New Year with a glass of wine.

It was just this morning that Kate left this place to go back to New York and Kim called from Florida on her way back to Atlanta. It was just a week ago when I hugged Mike and his family as we left for Tennessee to share a bit of the day with extended family. It was a rare and special Christmas morning that Kristin could be with us, all the way from California, and although I talked to Shannon that morning by phone over the noise of excitement, he called a couple of days later to catch up on holiday news. It was also during those happy moments Christmas morning that Beth called from San Francisco to wish us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It was just a week ago that all but two of my precious grandchildren were standing close around me, waiting for me to open a gift; a beautiful gold charm that said, "Very Special Grandmother." It was a few days before that Keegan and Aidan called while they were having an early Christmas with their mother and Beth to thank me for gifts we sent and Merry Christmas. Aidan said, "I'll see you at the beach, Mimi, if not before!"

I've touched you all in the last few days and it was memorable and glorious! Thank you for staying close. I wish for you another year of Great Family Moments!

I watched the ball drop here in this lovely cabin by the creek. I heard no sounds of fireworks or people shouting "Happy New Year!" as others kissed at crowded parties, but my sweet husband did call and loved me into the new year by phone. Kate called with best wishes and to let me know she was safely home. I talked to Mother earlier tonight and I know she too is safe at home where she has been for the last 50 years (you can't imagine the comfort that brings). Having these things is the perfect start to not only every year, but to another day. For me, I wish more of the same in 2008...HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear family, Happy New Year!


The order of things...

It’s New Year’s Eve Day in the Valley, all have gone from Northcroft but me, the sun is bright and the air is cold, and it is so very quiet, except for the crackle of the fire in the fireplace. Thoughts are zooming through my head…what should I do first? Start the wash? Write thank you notes for my Christmas gifts? Study the new pictures left on my camera, dust and sweep, replay my new CD that Jeremy and Kate made for us as a gift? I could take a nap or go for a brisk walk with a fresh mug of steaming coffee in my gloved hands, which would clear the cobwebs in my head. It sure would feel good to shower and wash my hair, but not until I get the house freshened up. Maybe I should call Mother. What were the names of those two books that I brought to read? I got an email from high school classmate, Nina Dunn, that I really want to answer... I could paint!

It sure is beautiful outside the big window, at eye level across from my desk…I think I’m going to need a few days to get all of this worked out. -Mimi

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Journey North and Beyond

Getting to know each other and Northcroft together, thinking about nature and wedding plans, reflecting on the past and the future, not to mention eating great food! That's what we have been doing since our joyous Christmas Day with the rest of family. Kate and Jeremy go back to New York tomorrow. Terr heads back to Atlanta and football on New Years Day... Me? I think I'll stay here and climb a mountain with God. I've got a lot to say thank you for.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'll Be Home For Christmas...

All that was missing was the snow! We had mistletoe and presents under the tree, and most of all we had you! At Nana's we went around the room and talked of our Christmas memories; the children said it best when then they said, "Every Christmas is my favorite!" Thank you, thank you, because, for me, this year was no exception to that rule.
Click bottom left for captions. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas to Remember

It was a very early morning in the S-C household today. It began with Andrew squeezing my hand at 4:00 a.m. to let me know he couldn't sleep because he was so excited. Shortly after, my sweet Emily sprung into our bed hoping it was morning as well. Later, as I was taking a shower to help get myself awake, I was struck with emotion. My childhood came flooding in and I, too, could remember....anticipation, waking up early, chill in the air, that first peak under the tree, the smells that now comfort me with familiarity. But most of all, I remembered the love that surrounded me that day. From our early mornings together as a family to our trips both to Nana's and Greatma's. The entire day, packed with travel-surrounded with lots of love.
As the kids made their way downstairs this morning, I was humbled by the abundant outpouring of love that was under that tree. And it was at that moment that I was reminded just how very much I was loved as a child. The abundance of our Christmas morning was no different. Yet the sacrifice was perhaps much greater. The sweet memories of Christmas have come full circle and the tradition of it all is now being passed down to my little ones. What a blessing. Thank you, Mimi for that gift of tradition. 
Tradition runs deep. For me, it shapes a legacy. Today I was reminded of that legacy we are shaping. And I thank my mother for her gift of tradition. For the familiar smells she creates, for the thoughtfulness in each and every gift she gives, for her outpouring of love
that surrounds our Christmas morning together. I see her work of love in the way she wraps her gifts, squeezes the orange juice, to even making her coffee stronger for her guests to enjoy! I am so proud to be part of this family. I am so proud to be Mimi's daughter. Thank you for your love that fills our hearts with joy-every day really, but a sweet reminder especially at Christmas.

Merry Christmas sweet family. 
Happy Birthday, Jesus. May the legacy of this families tradition bring you honor and glory!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Counting down the days...

Kate is home for Christmas. Jeremy and Kristin are coming on Sunday. We will join the Regas and Sabonis-Chafee families Sunday night for the S-Cs'annual Caroling party. All but Shannon and Bethann will be with us on Christmas morning before we leave for Tennessee for our extended family Christmas Day dinner. I am so pleased that so many can make it home for Christmas. For those who can't, we will share our day in phone calls and pictures, enjoying the gift of family no matter where we are.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Finding Christmas

December 19, 2007's late at night.

I’m still working on Christmas, I’ve been working for over a month, and I still don’t feel as though I have done enough. Will each child know how much I love them? Will each person on my list accept my gift as a token of my high esteem for them? Will I disappoint them with my choices? Have I touched enough people?

Tonight, I wept because I really miss Christmas. I miss everyone saying, “Merry Christmas!” as I walk through the shopping centers. I miss Christmas carols playing in every store and on every radio station. I miss the feeling of excitement that something special is coming. I miss the smells of pine and cinnamon. I miss my Daddy’s joy. I don't think I have seen one "Babe in a Manger"! Obviously, I've been going to the wrong places! (The disappointing Internet, for instance.)

Oh, I guess it’s the children that make Christmas exciting, and when that special day arrives and you all come walking in my door, I’ll find what I am missing. As for my inadequate gifts…I thought of the one perfect gift, the one that God gave to man. He gave all he had, and even then, some reject the priceless gift of love. I too want to follow the example, I want to give the perfect gift of love…

With each gift I wrapped, I filled the package with all the love that I had. I dwelled on each person, their personalities, their accomplishments, their sweet spirits and I prayed for you as I decorated your package carefully, with beautiful paper and ribbon. I have given you my best because I love you so much. You are my gift from God and I cherish you and pray that you have all the blessings that come with Christmas.

Now, he lies in his manger,
Speaking with infant lips,
Calling to all, to you and me,
"Whatever troubles you,
whatever you lack -
Release it, dear brother:
In your Creator's fullness,
I bring everything new again."

There, I feel better and the manger was here, in this house, all along.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Tour of Homes

This past weekend, Nana's dear friend Nancy drove her down from Murfreesboro to see the lights in the homes, and in the eyes, of her Atlanta children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Christmas is always so busy that this was the first time she has ever been able to make this holiday trip. Many thanks to Nancy for coming along and doing the driving! I got what I call a twofer: 1) I got to go on a tour of the Sabonis-Chafee home and the Regas home with them and 2) spend some time with two very special women. We all were delighted to see the beautifully appointed and perfectly decorated homes of these dear ones. Our tour guides did a great job and we had delicious coffee and brownies baked in the shape of a festive wreath!

Shannon said we could come to his and Molly's house too, but the only lights he had up were from Halloween! :) Well, we would have gone, and wanted to, but time and Friday night traffic got the best of us. By the time we picked up Granddad, had dinner, and made our way home, it was almost 11:00. As luck would have it, Molly and Morgan drove up just as Nana and Nancy were about to leave, so they got to see them, too! We had more treasured moments.

This might be a good tradition to start - a night to tour each other's homes in Atlanta. We could have drinks and appetizers at one house, small sandwiches and chips at another and something sweet at the last. Could be the start of something good.

Hope your Christmas activities are going well. What did you think of the beauty Tom captured during their Christmas trip to Berry? WOW!

P.S. I understand Molly and Morgan left here Saturday to pick out their Christmas tree. Hope you found the perfect tree. You should send us a picture!

Oh! And I have had a delightful devotional each morning, since they left, read from the lovely gift Nancy left for me on her bed. If you are out there reading this, Nancy...please come back!

Setting aside the bustle...Isn't Christmas a lovely time of the year? :)

<- the top mimi and grandad's tree.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A Happy Tune

In memory of Dad tomorrow, I am posting his picture with me, in sepia. First because I want to remember being with him and him with me, and secondly because although his color left this world, his wonderful memory most certainly did not. This is the 2nd anniversary of Daddy's birthday into heaven; see: Thursday, December 07, 2006 God's Angel turns One. It makes me happy to imagine him celebrating his birthday with Jesus. I think he must be in charge of flocking a million Christmas trees - not because they need artificial snow, mind you, but because God knows that he is enjoying it. Can you hear him whistling?

P.S. If this picture were made today, my hair would look just like his!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kid News

These children spent five weeks this fall on a hiatus from their regular Sunday School classes to be part of our church communicants' class. In addition, parent-supervised weekly homework was an "extra" that was required to complete the course of study. They are spiritual leaders of the next generation. Our precious angel, Emily (second row, right), was among this group of bright faces presented to the church, recently. Andrew also finished this class a couple of years ago.

*Be sure and call Mimi and let me know what my other grandchildren are doing. I would love to tell the world!....or at least anyone who reads the Chatterbox.....

Ford is doing really well swimming for the Woodward Swim Team.

After a singing audition, Andrew got another part in Wesleyan's upcoming musical, "Cinderella".

Morgan is raising money for rock climbing trips and scholarships at her local rocking climbing facility, by getting sponsors for each climb she makes to the top .

Emily is learning how to play the bell chimes and Joe is taking tennis lessons.

William is helping his mother a lot these days, but he will start his new school in January.

...And I understand that academics are going well for all! Yea Grandchildren!!!

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Friday, November 30, 2007

You'll find Jesus here!

Matthew 2:1-2: In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."

Today Joe and I found a way to proclaim that there will be room for the Baby Jesus here in our house this Christmas. We made the Star of Bethlehem and hung it out the nursery window!

Supplies: 5-3ft. long Bamboo sticks....

Small white zip ties...
100-bulb strand of white (green works fine) wire light...
We found that an extra pair of hands and a helpful heart...

Makes for the perfect holiday activity that will fill your house with comfort and joy.


1. To make 1 star: On a flat surface, arrange stakes in a 5-pointed star. Using small zip ties, secure the inner 5 points, and then secure the outer 5 points, top. Use a large zip tie to secure each of the outer points. Trim tie ends.
2. Secure plug end of strand to 1 point of the star with small zip tie. Drape strand along the length of stake, and then pass it between the 2 stakes crossed at end. Repeat along the adjacent stake. Drape strand along every stake of star. Secure with small zip ties, and trim tie ends. Repeat to make more stars if desired. (Add more strands as needed to connect stars to one another.)

Enjoy getting ready for the Christ Child!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A day of Thanksgiving

We had a great day...Hope you did too!

....There were greetings

Showing off of new blessings.....


More food than we should have been allowed!.....


and joy.....

Except for having any other of our children and grandchildren with us it couldn't have been a better Thanksgiving. Oh happy day, another sweet memory made!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am Grateful for you....

To all of you, who in some way have touched my life, I am grateful for the influence you have been, for the love you have given and/or for the things you have taught me. Thank you for reading my thoughts and viewing our precious family pictures on Chatterbox. What a delight it is for me to share them. You will be counted among my blessings this Thanksgiving. I hope you rejoice in your blessings wherever you are this day. Happy Thanksgiving!


...and a BIG and VERY special "Happy Thanksgiving" to all those who are gathered at 600 N. Church Street counting their blessings today. I LOVE YOU!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Belated Birthday Camp Out at NorthCroft

There is no doubt, Northcroft is for children...and Mimi. I mean, boys can run wet and wild, but somebody has to dry out the boots so mildew won't grow in them!

Truly, this past weekend is one of the reasons I am so grateful for our little place in the mountains. My grandchildren are the best of the best and they have the best of friends...

For his birthday each year, Andrew has chosen to have a camp out at Northcroft. He usually has about a half dozen friends and their fathers. (I really like this idea. I love watching the father/son connection; and I know the memories they are making together are big time important! ) They haul in tons of camping gear, food, gifts and, over the years they have learned to bring extra clothes and warmer jackets. The extras are for the inevitable fall into the creek in temperatures about 10 degrees colder than in Atlanta. I have also noticed newer and better camping gear as the years go by, and therefore happier faces in the early morning hours after a long night on the cold ground.

Kim, Emily, Will (who was mostly wet from being out with the big boys) and Morgan joined Grandad and me inside. Morgan taught Emily and me how to knit, and from that time until they left, their pretty little heads were in the bowing positions, knitting. Cute, cute, cute! From inside the warm cabin, we could hear shouts of excitement during a game of 'Capture the Creek', hundreds of rocks being thrown into the water and then later guitar music and song coming out of the darkness, from around the glow of the campfire.

I love this camp out weekend! I'm glad that my grandchildren love Northcroft the way I do. I adore Tom and Andrew's friends. I love that Mike and Joe are not just family but friends too. I love watching the teaching, the learning, the playing of all things boy.

This year, I loved something else... Tom and Andrew had a prior commitment to the children of the church. They are the Knight and Page of Apostlelot, a troupe of actors that performs an on going Godly story each week during the children's assembly. The children look forward to seeing them and hearing what happens next in the play. In the dark of the early morning, Tom and Andrew got up (Andrew leaving his own party that he was enjoying so much), and went back to Atlanta, to do God's work. That's why you don't see them in the last half of the pictures, but a lot of other children at church saw them. Without knowing it, Tom and Andrew set a life example for us all and Mike hung around till the end to pick up the slack of their absence. Need I say more.

:) Mimi

P.S. By clicking on the slide show you can get to the photo album and save any of the pictures that you want to your computer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Season of my Life...

My frequent trips back to Murfreesboro, where I grew up, seem to be having a big effect on me these days. Maybe it's because I have so much time in the car to reflect on where I'm going, as well as where I've been. The trip there this week was no exception...

Upon arriving, I joyfully rushed into the house to find that Mother had not been feeling well for a couple of days. We talked a bit then decided it might help to go out for a cup of soup and stop by my sister Judy's for a short visit. As always, Judy rushed to make her delicious "hurry up, company is coming!" apricot cake. We believe that it's a must to feed each other as a sign of caring, in the hope that guests will come back for more. She had already made certain that I had an appointment with my dentist (at her office) while I was in town, and had checked in on me, by phone, during my journey from Atlanta. Anyway, her daughter Abby was there, a fire was burning in the fireplace, and we had a nice (though brief) visit before leaving because Mom just couldn't get comfortable. We said goodnight with a promise to touch bases later.

Mom had a rough night, so the next morning while I was getting caps put on a couple of molars, she made an appointment to see her long-time doctor, now friend. We spent most of the afternoon waiting for him to work us in, then getting prescriptions filled, and going to the grocery store to buy foods that would be easy on her stomach. When we got home, my brother Hugh and his wife, Natali, were curled up on the sofa in the den. Natali put away the groceries, asked what else she could do, then took over putting the chicken on to boil for soup. She also made a pot of coffee for comfort, while I tried to fix Mother something I thought her stomach could handle after a day of fasting. Hugh, on the other hand, was busy fixing all the little things that had broken, or needed doing since the last time he had been there. After all was done, we settled down and chatted around the kitchen table. Natali talked about the Communist days in the Ukraine and how her life has changed since; Hugh related that they installed a fireplace and built a rock chimney together, that their daughter Becca is buying a house, etc. Mom was just grateful that the medicine was working and her dry baked potato wasn't making her sick. It was all so good, the kind of scene a playwright would not have written because it didn't move fast enough. It didn't really strike me how good, until the next morning...

I got up early to go and pick up Mom's longtime housekeeper, now friend, for work. I dropped Lilly off and was leaving again for my sister's to solicit the help of Louis, my brother-in-law, on a Christmas project I was working on, when my other brother-in-law, Aubrey, pulled up in his truck behind me and blew the horn. Big hugs and words of greeting (along with a little teasing) were followed by his report that he was there to put up a security light on the side of the house for Mom. As I left, it struck me how lucky I was that I could leave my mom and know that she would be lovingly taken care of, and how very blessed my mother was to be so loved, by so many.

Louis and I couldn't do what we intended, so he is taking care of it for me sometime in the next few days and delivering the project to Mother's, where Hugh said he would pick up the surprise and bring it to Atlanta at the end of the month. Can you believe that! None of this was planned, they where just helping...

As I drove the beautiful streets of rust, gold and red and smiled at the leaves blowing in the wind, I came to realize that in this season of my life, the autumn of my life, I need them, and they are still there for me. I am a lucky sister and sister-in-law. They are all teaching me about selflessness and I am grateful.

It's a good time of the year for being grateful. Hope your list of blessings this Thanksgiving is as long as mine...oh!...and it's raining (a bit)! A precious relief in this time of drought.

Thanks be to God.

P.S. Thanks also to Terr, for making it possible (and easy) for me to go back and join this crew of siblings. He has had to come home from a long days work and eat many-a-sandwiches so I could be gone. His gifts to me are huge!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Final Applause

Bravo Andrew! Your weeks of hard work paid off, your show a success, you did a great job and I hope you have many memories for your memory bank!

Joe's team won the championship game! They were undefeated for the entire season!
Issy finished her Cheer leading season.

Keegan's soccer team won the championship of their league!

Ford's football season is over and he now a member of the Woodward 7th Grade Swim Team.

Morgan continues with her rock climbing. Emily in a member of the bell chime ensemble at Wesleyan. Aidan finished his soccer season and William makes me smile!

All continue to do well, academically.

....and that's the way it is: The Best Of The Best!!

(Speaking of which, the parents of all the above are not doing so badly either, success in business and parenting is beyond compare! Thanks be to God!)

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

That's One "TERRIFIC" Andrew!


The Wesleyan Junior High production of "Charlotte's Web" opened tonight with a dress rehearsal and a standing ovation. Although I did not attend (I have to wait until Saturday night's performance), I understand that Charlotte's diligence, Templeton's craftiness, Wilbur's sadness, could have only been out done by the star we call our own; Golly, The Gander.....DA DAAAh!

"I think it's T double E double R double I double F double I double C C C C."....

He can't say it, because he is "HUMBLE", but I have heard him rehearse and I know that he is "SOME P- oops, ACTOR!

I hope you all get to see him perform sometime during the next three days.

Andrew has another reason to be "RADIANT" (thank you, Charlotte). Today is his Birthday! (Already a henpecked Goose at the age of ELEVEN!)
Oh, help me Charlotte, what words can I find to make a perfect wish for Grandson #2....I know! I know! "BREAK A LEG, SWEETIE" and have a "Happy, Happy Birthday!" It gives me so much joy to watch you grow.

"Have a honking good time!"