Too Soon, much too soon

 

It’s never easy to say goodbye to those we love. Especially, a parent, spouse or child. At 72 years of age, my mother went to be with the Lord and loved ones who have already gone before. Seventy-two? I use to think that number sounded so old but realize now, just how young that number sounds, now that I’m 51. I realize of course, how fortunate I am to have had mom with me all this time but it doesn’t make saying goodbye any easier.

Truth is, my mom left several years ago – not to death but to something much worse; Alzheimers. If you never been affected by this horrible disease, my friend, count your blessings! Too see someone stripped of all their life’s memories is truly a horrific thing to watch take place. My sincerest prayer is that none of you, who may read this will be faced with this most dispicable of diseases.

My mom was an incredible woman. Beautiful, smart, funny, and a fighter! Her love of life and all it holds is what I hope to never forget about her. She was truly an incredible cook, loved music and dancing, and was a pretty good card player as well. But where she excelled and demonstrated all of her greatest attributes was in the way she loved her family.

Along with my dad, they taught me that love was a verb and not something you just talked about doing. No, my sister and I saw loved played out and demonstrated for us as we saw how they loved each other and in turn, loved us! My parents were not rich but my sister and I never did without, as they would sacrifice a lot of things on our behalf. Although neither one of them were perfect people, their love seemed perfect and sustained them for 53 plus years!

Today, I said goodbye to my mom. 72 is too soon, much too soon to say goodbye but that is what I have done. Like mom, I am very much at peace, as I know that this day and every day forward, my mom is restored and whole once again. Although I will greive her loss in the days, months and years to come, I take great comfort in knowing that the lessons she has taught me over the past 50 years will sustain me until I am reunited with her and other loved ones in a day yet to come.

Until then, I’ll think of her whenever I listen to classic country or some old 50’s hit from days gone by. Whenever I have the chance to take my wife’s hand and lead her onto the dance floor, I’ll remember my mom and thank her for taking the time to teach me how to dance – as I recollect, one of the first songs I learned to dance to, was Surfin USA by the Beach Boys. Elvis Presley will always be my favorite artist as it was mom’s! I can’t begin to recall the countless hours we spent dancing to Elvis and his old 45’s. For you youngsters reading this, you will probably have to ask your grandparents what a 45 is.

72 is too soon, much too soon for anyone to lose their life but on the other hand, for some, 72 years is all that is needed to leave a legacy that will last for generations too come!! For now, and evermore, mom is at peace and happy. And one day, not too soon I hope, I will see her again and we will dance and sing once more and evermore! Love you Mom!!

Scott

Life Lesson Series – Laugh Often

Christmas 2011Laughter truly is the greatest remedy – it cures almost anything, even if it’s only for a short time. I heard someone say “laughter bounces away all the dirt”. If you think about it, that genuinely describes what happens when you laugh. Everything that is pent up inside of you emotionally is released when you experience the physical act of laughing. It’s an instant release of stress that’s bottled up inside of you. Even if it’s nothing more than an instant  of unbridled relief, laughter can release a mountain of built up stress.

By my nature I’m pretty laid back which I count as a huge blessing. Not that I’m not intense or have moments where I feel like I may explode but for the most part, I’m able to keep a pretty even temperament about things. Right or wrong the only time I really tend to get keyed up is when I am competing at something. I hate to lose…at anything. Sports and the like as always been the one area where I know I tend to take myself too seriously. And I must admit I’m not looking to change this character fault or strength, depending on how you look at it.

I think that in general though, we tend to take ourselves to seriously which prohibits us from laughing more. A quick example of this would be – you’re heading down 85 south to the Falcons game and you are running behind so you feel your anxiety rising. As you make it off the exit to turn right you find yourself behind someone who has suddenly decided that maybe they should turn left, there just not sure yet which way to go. Now be honest, at this point, we all know that person has no right to be driving an operated vehicle, especially with us being late for kickoff.

So what’s our response when we happen to be the other driver. My kids and wife have always taken great pleasure in letting me know when I’m the other driver. They’ll laugh or snicker but not too much as to upset me. Those are the moments you just have to laugh at yourself and move on. Come to think of it, some of the best times we have had as a family has been in our cars, driving to or from somewhere. Music and laughing has always been a staple of any trip taken by the Dorsey clan.

If you are ever fortunate enough to partake of dinner at our house (and your all welcome to do so), with all six of us there, just know that everything is fair game. Say something that doesn’t sound right or try to embellish a story a little and you will get called on it. My absolute favorite memories and what I miss most with the kids being gone now, are those dinners and family game night. We always allowed everyone the opportunity to speak and tell their story of the day. We would have nights where you would have to make up a story on the fly.

As the kids got older we took this game on the road, especially at Christmas time. As the kids and I would be waiting on Lisa to peruse through the mall stores, we would sit outside in the commons area and tell stories about the other people in the mall. “See that older couple over there? His name is Bill and that’s his wife Gladys, they just arrived in town to celebrate Christmas with their son’s family and realized they needed one more gift for their grandson”. The kids would come up with some great stories.

Now that they’re adults we will still revert back to our “make believe” sessions from time to time and it’s still just as much fun as it was back when. They have also refined the art of keeping each other, along with their mom and me, humble. I count it a great blessing that even now as they’re each making their own way in this world, that our kids not only still like to hang with us old folks but schedule time to do just that. We all love hanging out and doing things with other people but we are just as content when it’s only us.

Life is serious business. With the ebb and flow of getting through the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the joys and happiness of life. My prayer is that you refuse to let that happen. To always remember your blessings in the midst of the trials and tribulations. Reflect on the good times and let memories wash away the grime and always, always look forward to how you can make some new ones.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Scott

A Story

I think I’ve reached that time in life that seems to happen to individuals who are usually in their 60’s, 70’s or later. You know, when they reach that age where they don’t care what they say or how they say it. In some cases, they really don’t care if it hurts your feelings or not, they just want to make sure you hear their opinion. They don’t make apologies and/or excuses, they are just stating their view point on whatever the topic is.

I would love be at that point but honestly, I’m not. Not yet anyway but definitely closer with each passing day. In the last two weeks I have had the opportunity to experience two totally different times of life while continuing to live my own. Two weeks ago at this time, I was wrapping up our first night of Church time at the youth camp our church students were attending for the week.

I knew that I had a theme that I wanted to introduce the students and was basically trying to lay the groundwork for the week ahead. My hope was for each student, no matter what grade they were in, to grasp the concept that the week they were beginning to embark on, could represent a new chapter in the rest of their lives. As I looked out on the faces of these young people I could see them begin to contemplate their respective futures. The room was filled with future wives and husbands; bankers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, homemakers, missionaries and any number of things all in that room together.

Obviously with the first night of camp everyone is excited and anxious for the week to unfold. These young people had a look of expectancy about them. They knew and understood that the week could hold great promise/change for them. For others it was if they were waiting for affirmation of choices they had already made. I could see, sense all of this as I looked out on this room of the future. Each of them with their own story to write and I was overwhelmed with the potential that was listening to me intently.

Last Monday night, I spent the night at mom and dad’s house keeping mom company. Dad had been admitted to Cobb General earlier in the day, so I took mom home to eat and hopefully get a good nights rest. I was praying that Dad would also be able to rest and that we might be able to get some answers early the next morning as to what was going on. As mom retired for the night, I poured myself some tea and tried to find some junk food to eat but to no avail. I settled for a PB&J and a little milk.

As time begin to pass by I found myself recollecting on the previous week and all the promising futures I got to be with. I spent several minutes praying for all the kids and some specific requests that I had been made aware of during the week. I found myself thinking about my own life and some of the promises I held when I was 18. Being in mom and dad’s house made that easy to think on and reflect.

I wandered through the minefields of my memory and found myself thinking about my parents life and the stories they have written thus far – individually and together. I must say as I went through this exercise I found myself  realizing how great their journey has been. What struck me the most was to realize how much impact their life – their story has had on those around them.

Back to camp my mind drifted and how I wish I had conveyed to all those students just how much their lives could impact the world. The choice is truly theirs! Yes, they will all have obstacles to overcome and some battles will be lost but the impact they will have on the world around them is theirs to decide. Then that quiet voice that I truly hate to hear from sometimes, whispered in my ear; what about you?

What about me?, I thought. I’m trying to do my thing, be a positive influence on the world around me. Live my life in a way that reflects Christ in all that I do. So as I sat in the wee hours of the morning pondering over all these things, I realized there’s more to my own story. Being honest with myself I admit that I have been writing the same chapter for awhile now. Time to begin a new chapter. What this looks like I have no idea but I do know that I am the only one who can write it.

So for any students that may read this – I am accepting the same challenge I gave to you all at camp. What is God’s plan for my life? I will seek Him and search for the answers. I know they are there – I just have to be diligent to do my part.

I’ll continue my journey of the last two weeks later but for now I’ll leave all of you with this question/challenge – Are you writing the story that was meant for you to write? Or is time for you to begin a new chapter? a different story?

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Jeremiah 29:11 – 11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Life Lesson Series – Music and Dancing

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This may be the most personal post I have in this series of Life Lessons and I probably won’t do justice to how important these two things have been to our family over the years. I’m sure most of my kids will weigh in on this post and I really hope they do.

The little side slow above is just a slight representation of what it was like growing up in the Dorsey household over the years. A tradition that was gratefully handed down from my parents to me. I have always loved music and dancing. My parents grew up during the hay day of Rock n Roll, so conversely, I grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, MOTOWN and countless others as the soundtrack to my childhood.

During middle and high school, their preference shifted more to easy listening and country music. Meanwhile, I started to discover everything from Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal and my favorite, Southern Rock. Through the early 80’s Pop Music was an eclectic array of varying styles and sounds. I contend that the late 70’s through the mid 80’s was the single greatest time for music.

In high school, I had everything imaginable in my room to play music through my state of the art – Atlanta Falcons headphones. I had a Pioneer Home Stereo with cd player, turntable, cassette deck and 8-track player. If your under the age of 30, just ask you’re parents what those things were – also ask them about the Commodore 64. For music on the go, I had one of the biggest boom-boxes around but sadly that was stolen on graduation trip to Panama City in 84. Anyway, I digress.

Lisa and I married young, 19 for her and 22 for me. Kids came early and often for us as we had 4 over the next 5 years. Over the years, as the kids have grown and are each now living their separate lives. There are a handful of things that were and continue make up the fabric our family. These are books, board games, movies, charades, music and dancing!! We all have a love for each of these things as they have been a source; at different times; of inspiration, comfort, escape, challenge, knowledge, and great fun!! Really, great fun!!

The fondest and most memories I have of our time together as a family revolves around music and dancing. The kids and I over the years put on a countless number of shows and all of us are renowned for our ability to play any Air instrument, broom or mop you can find! And singing, let’s just say we sounded every bit as good as Taylor Swift on her best day.

Typically, the concerts would ultimately give way to an in-home edition of American Bandstand or Soul Train dance party. As a dad, I always took great pleasure watching my kids participate in their various sporting events and such, but honestly, my absolute favorite memories with my kids are those nights where as a family, we would simply play games, talk about books, watch a movie or put on one of our concert/dance parties.

Nowadays, we don’t get the opportunity, to take part in concerts or play many games but we do make time to play charades when given the chance, take in a movie or two. Books and music however, are still very much a part of our daily lives as we constantly compare notes on the latest authors, books we are reading or the latest artists and their music we’ve discovered.

Music, out of all these things is one thing that really binds us together. Not too many conversations will pass by where music doesn’t come up – whether we are sharing stories about the latest concert, latest trip or just the latest album we bought. I really am thankful for music and the part it has played in our family’s history over the years. Early on we use to travel quite a bit, taking various trips to see Grandparents, Siblings and cousins all across the southeast and midwest.

During these trips we would listen to all types of music from different genres. As a result the kids were exposed to everything from bluegrass, rock, metal, jazz, big band, orchestra, pop and of course, country music. They have all developed their own favorite genres and preferences. The cool thing about this for me, is that they are now exposing me to all types of music…most of which, I really enjoy.

After reading this I realized I have not really expressed a direct “life lesson” so here it is – especially for those of you with young kids. Whatever it is, find something that allows you the opportunity to make a connection with your kids. And dads, I encourage you to not be wallflowers, but rather, be active participants in all the activities in and around your house. I promise you, you will not find anything more rewarding than creating memories with your children!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 3 – Listening

ears

This is one life lesson that is very much a learned skill and discipline. Ask yourself, How often do you truly listen to the world around you? When in conversation how often do you truly engage the person and listen to what they are telling you? More times than not, I catch myself thinking of my response more than I am actually listening to what is being said.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Bryant H. McGill

I love the quote above and think it’s absolutely true. It’s amazing how much more we get out of a conversation when we truly listen to what is being said instead of just hearing them speak. Another aspect of listening and respect is to have eye contact with the person you are conversing with instead of looking at our phones or fidgeting with this or that.

As a kid I had to go to speech therapy 2 times a week for a couple of years so that I could learn how to speak properly. Being born with a cleft pallet caused this process to take longer for me than it did other kids but looking back on it now I realize what a blessing that was, as it taught me how to listen. Time after time, my therapist would say a word or a sentence and then I would have to repeat it back to her. Another benefit of this is that with time I learned how to read lips proficiently. This ability has proven very beneficial over the years.

One of the things I had to overcome and still struggle with to this day is that I have a tendency to look at people’s lips when talking with them instead of making eye contact. Eye contact to me is another key component of showing someone respect and something that I made sure to teach my children how to do. When you keep eye contact with someone as their speaking to you, you will also notice that it allows you to see more. Maybe not into their souls but it allows you to see more deeply into the person.

I think this life lesson is one that is typically overlooked but over the years, at least for me, as become one of the most critical for me. Listening is one discipline I am constantly having to work at, as it is easy for me to be distracted but is also one of the most needed. Another component of listening, especially to God, is to simply be still. In  Psalm 46:10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

In order to truly hear God, we must learn to be still and allow Him the opportunity to speak to us. To often I find myself going through the motions with God – my prayers become one-sided and I don’t take time to pause and let Him speak to me or during my study time, I may find myself trying to understand a particular passage of scripture and I simply breeze through it without actually taking the time to study or meditate on it, giving Him the opportunity to speak to me.

Again – Listening, to me, is one of those skills that we can never master but by being diligent to try, we can greatly improve the relationships around us.

Would love to hear your thoughts! Really, I would love hear your thoughts. Honestly, ………….I will listen.

Peace and thanks for reading!!

Life Lesson 1 – Share the Journey

Life Lesson 2 – Serving

A Study of Joseph – Meant for Evil

As we finish up Genesis 37, we get into the events that will set the course for a most remarkable journey for Joseph. And as we do so, I want to draw attention to the fact, that just like today, they also had to deal with evil in Joseph’s day as well.  Looking at this passage we will see different types evil, along with character flaws, shortcomings, and although men conspired to do evil, God used it to fulfill His purpose and protected Joseph.

Genesis 37:12-26. The brothers had taken the flocks to Shechem to graze when Israel (Jacob) decides to send Joseph to find out what’s going on with the brothers. Why he wants to do this, who knows but here we have a reinforcement of favoritism being displayed to the brothers. So, whatever the reason,  he decided to send Joseph to Shechem to find his brothers, And in verse 15 is the following: A man found him there, wandering in the field, and asked him, “What are you looking for?” I make note of this verse because what if the man hadn’t of been there? Joseph possibly would have returned back home not knowing where his brothers were and if so, would have never ended up being sold into slavery.

How often in our lives have we had a “man” or “something show up” out of the blue that we were able to look back on and think wow, how fortunate we were that they were there? So, tragedy was avoided and Joseph was able to continue on with God’s plan and made his way to Dothan after being directed there by the man. Now in verse, 18, evil is in full bloom with the brothers – “They saw him in the distance, and before he had reached them, they plotted to kill him.” They didn’t want to just mess with him a little bit, maybe beat him up to teach him a lesson. They wanted to KILL him!

Luckily for Joseph, his big brother was there to rescue him and keep him safe. His proposal to his brothers was to put Joseph in the pit without doing the whole killing thing! At first glance, it seems that Reuben is a hero by standing up to them but really – no, not even close. He proved to be a weak leader by not standing up fully against his brothers wishes. He was more concerned about keeping peace among his brothers than simply doing the right thing! Joseph was sparred and was put into the pit alive. Pretty sure that at this point, I would probably begin questioning my whole faith thing.

In verse 26, a new leader is established among the brothers as we see Judah step forward – v.26 Then Judah said to his brothers, what do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay a hand on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers agreed. A couple of points. Although mentioned by Reuben earlier, the question of whether or not to kill Joseph is not really answered until this passage when Judah makes his plea. I love how Judah justifies that it is ok to sell Joseph into slavery over just killing him. So in addition to jealousy and anger, we now are introduced to the evil of greed.

As we end this post, I want to make special note of the fact that Joseph, at this point, has absolutely no control over his situation. He has fallen victim to the evil plans of others, family who have essentially cut ties with him forever (or so they thought) and I can only imagine how dark this day for Joseph truly was. And for us today, we would do well to remember that no matter our circumstance or overwhelming the plight we find ourselves may seem, God is in control and we should remember Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


Peace and thanks for reading

A Study of Joseph – History Repeated

Joseph becomes the main character of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37:2This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. At this point, we know Joseph is 17 and is the 2nd youngest of 12 brothers. And at the end of the verse listed above we see that he has no problem with letting his father, Jacob, know what is going on with his brothers.

In the next verses we see how the history of favoritism is carried on to yet another generation of Abraham’s family. Genesis 37:3-4 – 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to himObviously we now have some serious conflict going on within this family. Imagine hating someone to the point that you couldn’t even talk to them peaceably and then imagine living in the same house with that person, day after day, year after year.

Thinking back on when I was a young parent I don’t remember anybody talking about or warning Lisa and I to be careful about showing favoritism where our children were concerned. It is something that we talked about and were always careful to guard against. I do however, think this is something we need to talk about, especially with young parents. Nothing can disrupt or cause animosity quicker within a family than favoritism.

My simple advise is this, your kids are individuals, each created with unique gifts, skills, quirks and personalities. Learn your kids and celebrate their individuality while working with them to overcome any obstacles they have in their character. Additionally, I would also say that I think some parents do a disservice to their children when they try and treat all of their kids the same way – equally. Instead, I would say you should treat your kids justly according to who they are.

An example of this would be: one of my daughters absolutely hated the idea of getting a spanking, to the point that she would cry a bucket of tears before the actual punishment was ever administered. My other daughter thought, ha, that’s no big deal, lasts for a minute and it’s over. With the one, we would give spankings and with the other, we found that taking things or privileges away from her would make a much stronger point. Was that fair? Would they say they were treated equally?  With both, we tried to be just and as a result, we didn’t have to spank a lot nor did we take away a lot of things.

Next Chapter will look at the dreamer and start looking at some parallels between lives of Joseph and Jesus.

Peace and Thanks for Reading

Blessed

Sitting in Kyle’s apartment at 10:45 pm on the campus of Auburn University. It’s a Thursday night after what has been a long but great day!!  I was able to actually sleep in a little this morning till 7:30 and get a good 5 1/2 hours of sleep in. I worked in the office today until 2pm and headed over to Lanier HS to pick up Ryan before heading home and finish packing for our little weekend away from home.

Ryan is interviewing tonight and tomorrow with IMPACT 360, which is a 1 year Gap program, giving kids an opportunity to immerse themselves into Biblical Studies and cement their faith while building a strong Christ based worldview. Praying for God’s direction for Ryan and already feel that this would be an incredible opportunity for him if that is the path he is to follow.

So while driving down to Pine Mtn. where Impact is located, I was able to have time to just reflect on each of the kids, Lisa and myself on where we are individually and collectively as a family. I am humbled at how blessed we truly are! It is awesome to see God working in each of their lives and in such different ways. And as I was thinking of this I began reflecting on the countless number of people who have played a part in helping my kids, Lisa and myself become the people we are today.

I won’t even begin to try and name everyone who has blessed our family over the years but Lisa and I are forever grateful for each and everyone of you!! Thinking back on all the different places we have lived and all of the different people God has placed in our paths, I am simply amazed and humbled at how God as used everyone to impact our family. From preschool till today I am so thankful for all of the teachers who have given of themselves to teach our children God’s word. For all of the people who encouraged my children to be who they are and challenge them; whether it be academically, artistically or just taking time to talk them, I am so thankful for you.

I could carry on this post for pages and pages and still not do justice in thanking you all. People ask Lisa and I all the time what our secret is for having 4 great children. Obviously, we have always tried to be Godly parents and teach, train our children but honestly, I will let you in our secret – and that secret is you!

Peace and THANKS AGAIN!!

A thought on Leadership for Fathers

I love the movie, The American President, exactly why, I honestly can’t tell you but I do. Every time it’s on, no matter what part of the movie is on, I usually end up watching till it’s conclusion. The movie has a lot of great scenes in it along with some very memorable lines. Tonight as I was watching it, I was struck by a scene – (the know the difference) scene. You can watch the clip that inspired this post here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKTqS4bXugg. There are a couple of expletives in this clip.

In this scene, Lewis (played by Michael J. Fox) is taking issue with the President (Michael Douglas) for not speaking up and taking a stand against another candidate who is constantly questioning the President’s values. As the scene begins to hit it’s climax, Lewis tells the President “people want Leadership Mr. President and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert to where a mirage, and when they discover there is no water, they’ll drink the sand”. President replies and his last sentence to Lewis is “people don’t drink the sand because they’re thristy, they drink the sand because they don’t know the difference”.

Is this not the problem that we are facing today? Maybe I’m wrong but we as fathers need to look at the scene again and replace people with “our children”. Our children want and more importantly NEED genuine leadership and in the absence of it, they will most definitely find any number of other influences to fill that void. It is our responsibility to teach, guide and yes, lead, our children on a path that is truly beneficial for them!!

It is our responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of our home. We have a whole generation of kids falling by the wayside. We, fathers, have allowed them to wander aimlessly in the desert in search of water to drink and sadly, for most of them, they won’t ever find it because we, men, have never led them to the water so that they would know the difference.

Peace and thanks for reading!

It’s Christmas Time!!

I love this time of year because it always takes me back to when I was a kid. Growing up in Marietta, Georgia was so much fun, especially around Christmas. Marietta was not the biggest town on the map but it played big every Christmas or that’s at least how I remember it! Outside of seeing what Santa brought for my sister and me on Christmas, I think the most fun I had at Christmas was going shopping with my mom. As I got older, not so much, but for several years there, shopping was extremely fun!!

My favorite store back then was the Sears and Roebuck (if you remember the Roebuck, you’re dating yourself). They would go all out in decorating their store each year. From the parking lot all throughout the building and even in the garage where they fixed the cars, they would decorate any and everything!! It was like Santa’s workshop had been relocated to Marietta for the Christmas season! I can still remember the days of walking through the double, front doors trying hard to not sprint down that center aisle and around the corner to where I knew the toys, games, and Santa would be waiting. Magical times I tell you, for in that instance, everything else disappeared!! Incredibly, Santa always seemed to know exactly what to bring me on Christmas morning!!

Cumberland Mall back then was the place to go!! At the time, it was the most massive size building I had ever been in and to see it all decorated for Christmas was simply overwhelming to a young kid. I remember the smell of the mall at Christmas time. I know that’s probably odd but I do, I remember, smelling all of the different fragrances as you walked in and out of the different stores. And the Christmas music was great as it was the only time of year we got to hear it and no matter where you were in the mall, you could hear it – I thought that was just amazing. I remember people being happy and almost overflowing with joy. Sure, I remember some people that seemed really stressed out and ill at the world but I just figured they knew they were on Santa’s naughty list already and were just bummed because they weren’t getting presents that year.

I remember the lights as we would drive around in all the neighborhoods. So bright, festive and full of life were the houses that were decked out for Christmas, especially the ones that had an undecorated house next to them. We usually would take our tour two or three days in advance of Christmas and that was my beacon of hope to know I just had to wait a couple of more days. And I will admit, I was terrible about waiting for the rest of the family to see what was under the Christmas tree!! One year my parents even hung a sheet in the hallway to try to keep me from sneaking a peek at what laid just beyond it. I will not divulge whether or not this attempt was successful for them or not. I remember the year of the pinball machine because I know I heard Santa, my dad and whoever else was there playing it as I was trying to sleep in my room.

Finally, Christmas Days were just the best!! And not because of whatever I may have received that morning but just because the whole day was filled with joy, love, laughter and food!! As my sister and I got older, mom and dad didn’t seem as eager to get right to the tree. Which was fine with me because mom always had her sausage cheese balls ready for us to eat. When we finally did get to the tree I was always amazed at how my parents seemed just as happy as Audra and me were, at the presents we had received even though they didn’t have near as many. In the early afternoon we would head over to Aunt Saralene’s house. Now this was always a truly magical time as we would one by one open all the presents that were collected under the tree. This took hours to do and the only way to get through it was to make sure you kept yourself fed and there was always great food to fill the need!!

Sitting around their big family room opening presents was simply amazing!! Everyone laughing, then crying from laughing, then laughing again and the competition….man it could get intense. I’m not talking about who got the best or most presents, no, it was who could get who the best present, as everybody really tried to get everyone the perfect gift! Incredibly fun times, and I hope that my kids are able to look back at their childhood Christmas’ experiences with the same fondness that I have for mine.

Merry Christmas to you all!!

Peace and thanks for reading!