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Our Grandson's Birthday Party

Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a nice day we had yesterday. It was our grandson's 4th birthday and Landon wanted a pirate party. His mom went all out fixing pirate party bags for each child (and for Tommy, because he's a big kid at heart) and decorating the house. She asked me to make him a treasure chest birthday cake (I used to make and decorate cakes for a living many years ago).

Their home was filled with more small children than I could count. They were all running and playing with their little rubber swords while donning their pirate hats and eye patches. I think it's almost impossible to be around a lot of laughing children and not smile. Tommy was having a great time, as he always does with his grandchildren.

The food was also scrumptious, and I was pleased to see that she had lots of cut up fresh fruit - yum! Everyone was having a great time.

Landon's treasure chest birthday cake. I'm not sure what they liked the most - the cake or all the candy it was filled with!

I loved this shark that she carved out of watermelon, and refilled with fruit.

Tommy (left) with his oldest son Jeff

Landon preparing to sword fight with his Papaw Tommy

The party was a nice break from a stressful few days and also took Tommy's mind off of his concerns, at least for a little while. He had his three month scan last Tuesday and has an appointment tomorrow morning to see his oncologist. They always do blood work when he first arrives, but his doctor's nurse called him Thursday evening and asked him to come in Friday morning so they could go ahead and do his blood work. When he asked her why they wanted him to come early, she told him the scan shows something new in his abdomen. He didn't ask any questions, but we went to the lab Friday and they drew blood. We are both very concerned that his cancer may have spread somewhere else. Needless to say, it's been a long weekend with little sleep. We are both very nervous about tomorrow and praying that our worst fears are not confirmed.

Please keep Tommy in your prayers, and thanks for all of your support.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDYLIN90 1/20/2013 11:00PM

    Looks like a wonderful party with an absolutely fabulous cake. It was good you could have this time of fun and relaxation. I wish you the best as you face the road ahead.

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MAKINANIMPACT 1/20/2013 10:40PM

    I hope that everything goes well for Tommy, that was a nice break I'm sure! Loved the cake, it was very cute and the watermelon was right up there also!


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LUVS2BIKE101 1/20/2013 9:16PM

    I will be praying for him and you.
The cake is a work of art! You are so gifted. I could just imagine the sounds and sights at the party!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 1/20/2013 8:51PM

    What a cute birthday party - I love kids at that age! So sorry about the scary news and praying the scan was just a fluke.

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GOLFGMA 1/20/2013 7:51PM

    What a lovely party for Landon! The cake must have been like a dream come true to Landon and all his birthday friends. Memories for him to take forward. Praying for you and Tommy regarding the scan and praying that you will get needed rest before the appointment tomorrow!
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NELLIEC 1/20/2013 5:40PM

    I am praying!

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WORLDSERIES11 1/20/2013 2:40PM

    The party sounds like it was loads of fun!!And your cake was awesome!!

Cindy, you and Tommy are in my thoughts and prayers!!
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LADYVOLSFAN1954 1/20/2013 1:53PM

    Looks like a fun party! Keeping you in my prayers as always. Hugs

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_JODI404 1/20/2013 12:46PM


You & Tommy are both in my thoughts and prayers!! Sending you love, hugs, and positive thoughts. I pray that the news is not bad.

The party looks fantastic! emoticon Your cake is just awesome! I bet the kids really enjoyed it all. You are quite talented. I'm glad this brought you a little distraction and fun.

Waiting to hear results is the worst! Hopefully you will get some sleep.
Praying for you both!

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PDSLIM 1/20/2013 12:16PM

    happy birthday pirate

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DOODIE59 1/20/2013 11:56AM

    Hi Cindy
I am sending you big, big hugs and all the hope in my heart that your fears are not confirmed.

On a much lighter matter, that Landon is one lucky little boy -- I can't believe the heartfelt effort that went into his birthday:) GREAT job on the cake, and that watermelon ... those things are remembered for a very long time.

Thinking of you, and praying for good news,
Deirdre emoticon emoticon

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LIBBYG7 1/20/2013 11:52AM

    Dearest Cindy...
You are a rock.....you and Tommy Both!!! You both will be in my thoughts and prayers going forward....that nothing bad is going on. Just know....you've made it possible for him to do things others in his situation could only dream of. You've given him a beautiful life.....and I pray there's lots more time to enjoy.....

And.....is there no end to your talents??? That cake is magnificent! No wonder you did it professionally. I'll bet you had scads of grateful customers......Something you might take up again???

Take good care ...... I'm so happy you all had a beautiful time with all the kids and swords and eye patches......

Heaven be with you both....
Luv. Libby
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LIVINGFREE19 1/20/2013 11:28AM

    I will keep you in my prayers so you have only good news tomorrow.

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My First Hike of 2013

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Well, Iíve been away from SparkPeople for the past couple of weeks, only taking a minute or two to look quickly each day. Thereís been so much going on, and Iím really ready for some relaxation time. Iím so glad 2012 is over along with all the stress the end of the year brought.

First, my job as a magistrate is an appointed position that automatically expires at a certain time. The end of 2012 was when my term, along with the term of several other magistrates, was ending. Itís always a stressful time as they can choose to replace you or reappoint you. Thankfully, I have been reappointed for another term so I donít have to start stressing again until the end of 2016 (at least about my job). Being sworn back in on January 1st was a huge relief. We did, however, lose one magistrate, so we have been short and working an adjusted schedule to make up for his absence until a new magistrate is trained and on the schedule. Between the crazy schedule at work and the holidays, Iíve stayed tired. Even so, I managed to enjoy the holidays, at least the food, a little too much. While I only gained a little over a pound, it still bothers me and Iíve got to get back on track.

Today Iíd had enough. I was off work and feeling crummy, so I decided I really needed some outdoor activity and headed up to Pilot Mountain for a hike. It was the first time Iíd been up there since they had a fire up there last fall (a controlled burn that managed to get out of control). Tommy went with me and together we hiked the loop around the knob on Jomekee Trail. When we finished, I headed on to the Grindstone Trail while he drove to the park entrance to meet me at the other end.

I was so surprised and saddened to see how much of the area had been burned, but it will come back quickly when warm weather returns. It was in the 40's, which was perfect. I saw very few other people on the trail, which is the way it usually is on a weekday. All in all, it was a great day for hiking, and I feel so much better tonight. Now Iím ready to get back to my daily walking routine and hopefully do some biking sometime soon.

I don't make New Year's resolutions - I stopped doing that years ago. I have decided though that I WILL reach my goal weight by the end of 2013. Less than 1 pound a week will get me there, so no more excuses. I'm ready to do whatever it takes to be healthier by the end of the year.

Now for some hiking pictures:

Slightly charred area along the Jomeokee Trail.

These two trees looked like they fell burning, leaving holes in the shape of each tree.

A badly burned area along Grindstone Trail

Self-portrait! Note my Darth Vader hat - LOL. No, I'm not really a Star Wars fanatic; my son gave it to me, but it's warm.

The trail ahead with the Pilot Mountain knob in the background. That's the knob that Tommy and I had hiked around earlier.

Not sure what the rock cairn is about. I can understand these in the desert where trails are much harder to recognize, but with a large blue circle nailed to a tree every 40 - 50 feet, I hardly think this is necessary. Oh well, I guess somebody was bored. emoticon

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOGSTARDADDY 1/10/2013 6:26PM

    Nice hat!!!

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SHESMITH1 1/8/2013 6:10PM

    Cindy, I'm glad your position is safe for 3 more years!

Thank you for sharing the pictures. I haven't been to "the Pilot" since the fire. It really isn't as bad as I feared it would be.

Love the hat! I have a "rooskie (sp?)" that I wear on really cold days. It used to horrify my kids when I wore it - which is probably 90% of the reason I did :)

May 2013 be a super year for you!

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LIBBYG7 1/7/2013 12:50PM

    Hi Cindy
....love the twinkle in your eye.
There you go again ---- milking the life out of .......life!!!
As I've said many times before, you're an inspiration.

And I consider this hike and the burned out trees (with the understanding of rebirth) to be a metaphor for our individual journeys.....here on Sparks.

Big hugs. (to Tommy & Thor too)

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    Thanks for sharing the hike - I loved going with you and can't wait for the next one!

Happy trails!

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SKIPPYDOG 1/4/2013 7:18PM

    So glad that you have your job. I had my annual review in Sept and got a wonderful surprise. I am getting promoted up in a position at my work. My company grades the medical techs 1,2,3 and up to a lead position. My boss mention my hard work and wants to promote me to a tech 3 which is so neat and possibly the lead tech in the future. Love you pictures in your blogs. Need to post some pics of the snow we got almost 2 feet !

Have a good weekend.

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LINDAKAY228 1/4/2013 12:04PM

    I'm so happy you were re-appointed and won't have to worry again for a little bit! And I just love the hike. It does remind me somewhat of areas around here. I've hiked through burn areas here too and it is so sad to see, but I've also done hikes through areas that burned several years ago and there are still a few little signs but so much has grown back it's amazing. So I know that this area you hiked with grow back to beauty once again. It's amazing what getting a hike in can do to relieve stress!!

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DOODIE59 1/4/2013 11:50AM

    Hi Cindy
Great news about your job:) Thank you for sharing the hike -- it's always neat to see where others get to hike, esp when my normal walk is in the city. Those necessary burns can be helpful (until they become out of control). As you say, we'll see what the same landscape looks like by the end of the summer.
Wishing you a happy, healthy 2013.

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LIVINGFREE19 1/4/2013 9:13AM

    Loved the photos and hearing about your hike! It's sad that thee was so much burning, what a shame.

I'm glad to hear your job was reinstated, everybody needs work!


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GOLFGMA 1/4/2013 7:37AM

    Great job, Cindy. Was out yesterday on the golf course for the first time this year and it was a little chilly but, like you, I felt so much better afterward. I love the photo where you can see Pilot Mountain from the hiking trail. All are beautiful, but, i have never seen one from that angle so I thank you so much for all. emoticon

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CHANGE4THEBEST 1/4/2013 4:27AM

    Thank you for sharing your photographs - despite the devesation, I'm sure it's a beautiful trail in all weathers.

Great to hear you have been reappointed and the very best with your weight loss journey.

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ANDYLIN90 1/4/2013 2:07AM

    It's really sad to see burned areas, but as you say, it will come back. Hope you felt better after your hike.

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HICKOK-HALEY 1/4/2013 1:44AM

    I'm so glad your job worked out for you. What a relief. We had a bad fire out this way 2 1/2 yrs ago. Part of the area still makes me sad, but like you said, the growth bounces back. When I saw that our hills were green last month I knew that was a good sign. The trees along the path you walked. It looks like the tops of the trees are still alive. I sure hope so. Love all your new pictures!!!

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_JODI404 1/3/2013 10:42PM

    Sounds like a wonderful hike! So glad Tommy went with you for a bit. emoticon

The fire aftermath looks so bad... hopefully you are right about the re-growth!

Congratulations on the reappointment at your job! I know it's a relief to have such a large thing to not worry about for a while. emoticon

Love your pic & your cool hat!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. I'm playing mad catch up myself and hope to be all caught up with all I need done by Sun.

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NELLIEC 1/3/2013 10:40PM

    Your Darth Vader hat reminds me of some knit gloves I got in the children's section, which have some rubbery designs to appeal to the youngsters. I find that if I wear them with the designs on the palms of my hands rather than on the backs of my hands, it helps me grip the steering wheel of my car more efficiently and keeps my hands warm! emoticon

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WORLDSERIES11 1/3/2013 10:35PM

    So glad you got to get out and enjoy some fresh air!! Congrats on being reappointed too! As always, LOVE the pictures...makes me feel like I'm along for the journey:)

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Merry Christmas Friends

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas is a special time of year celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also a time that brings families and friends together exchanging gifts, sharing wonderful meals, and just enjoying each othersí company. We often think of all we have to be thankful for on this day, but maybe we should try to appreciate the things we have all year long.

During the course of everyday living, it is easy to dwell on the things that are wrong in our lives. There is always something to worry about and whatever those worries are, they are often hard to put out of our minds and can tend to occupy the majority of our thoughts.

When Tommy was diagnosed with cancer, that was one of the worst days of my life. All seemed hopeless and I felt lost. I looked at all of the family members, and I saw those same feelings of shock and helplessness in everyone elseís eyes also. The pain was unbearable and I was scared for Tommy; I couldnít begin to imagine how he must feel. I wanted to take away his fears, but I couldnít. All I could do was be there for him. Those thoughts still creep into my mind on a regular basis, but I have learned so much from Tommy that it is becoming easier to drive away the negative thoughts. Of course, I still wish I could snap my fingers and Tommy would be cured forever, but since I canít, I can only trust God that there is a reason things are happening as they are.

I was cooking dinner the other night when Tommy made the remark, ďIíve always been lucky in life.Ē I paused for a moment as I tried to understand how he could consider himself lucky when he is battling pancreatic cancer. I didnít say anything to him, but continued working in the kitchen while trying to process this in my mind. It took some time, but then I began to realize that he was right. Despite his diagnosis, he has been lucky in life, and so have I.

What we are dealing with is part of life, just like the countless others we see every time we go to the cancer center. To us they are nameless faces, but to someone else they are the world. They are all someoneís family member, someone who is loved, someone who received the same diagnosis of cancer that left another family also feeling devastated and scared. Yet, they are all there, brave souls who are moving forward and fighting for their lives. Most importantly, they are living their lives. These people truly appreciate every day of life.

I thought about when we were told that Tommy probably had six months to a year to live, and then I smiled - he is now enjoying his fourth Christmas since his diagnosis, without being hooked up to a chemo pump. He has become the poster boy for the cancer center on how to live with pancreatic cancer. God is good and we are truly fortunate.

I started thinking about how lucky we both are to have such supportive family members in our lives. I thought about the last three years and the amazingly wonderful times we have had. Weíve made several trips to the southwest, several trips to Florida and to Myrtle Beach, and numerous trips to the mountains. Weíve gone hiking and bike riding, been out on boats, been to several races that he loves so much, and he has watched his grandchildren continue to grow. We spent his birthday in Andy Griffithís childhood home and we got to meet Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), a highlight for him. I could go on and on because there are so many things we have done, and I plan for us to do a lot more. My goal is to keep him encouraged and looking forward to his next adventure. We still have our bad days, but the good ones far outnumber the bad. And most importantly, we laugh, a lot. Despite his illness, we are continuing to live our lives with new hope for each day.

Last week, we received a Christmas gift from a family member that was almost unbelievable to us. Because of medical bills, we have both been driving older cars hoping that they would keep running. We received a gift of a car, the very kind that Tommy had been wanting to buy but we simply couldnít afford. We are both so excited, but thought and thought about how to repay someone for this. We walked around the stores trying to find the perfect gift for this person. We finally settled on a nice gift, but it still didnít seem like enough. We know she doesnít expect repayment; she doesnít even want others to know what she did for us. Itís just the type of person she is, always doing for others. So how do we repay someone for always being there when we need them? We canít. We can only say thank you so very much to her for all she has done. Yes, Tommy was right. We truly are lucky in life and we need to remember this every day.

Enjoy your day today with all of your loved ones; hug them and tell them you love them. Appreciate all that God has given you. Life is short, so we have to live and enjoy every day.

Merry Christmas my friends!

Our Honda Fit

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_JODI404 12/27/2012 12:15PM


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us. This blog really moved me. I have lost very dear loved ones... my Mom & my Dad. I *know* that life is short and precious. An attitude of gratitude is what will see us through. Yet, sometimes I still find myself taking things for granted... even though I know so much better. Reading your blog is a wonderful reminder for me of what is truly important in life.

I do think that you & Tommy are so blessed and lucky. So very lucky to have each other and all of these awesome adventures and hopefully many more to enjoy in 2013!! Living life to the fullest is definitely a great achievement!

Wishing you much more laughter, great adventures, hope, faith, and LOVE!! I hope it's another wonderful year for you, Tommy, and Thor.

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DEBBIEDAY 12/26/2012 10:53AM

    AWESOME reminded that we are indeed lucky ( or blessed) with each new day we have here on this earth!! Beautiful Christmas gift, I'm sure it will take you all on more exciting adventures in the New Year!!!!

Hugs & Prayers !

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WORLDSERIES11 12/26/2012 3:04AM

    This was beautiful Cindy!! We are so lucky to be allowed to share in your story and to learn from your faith and strength!! And congrats on the car...it looks great!

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SHESMITH1 12/25/2012 8:47PM

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful and personal thoughts, Cindy. I'm in awe of the power of faith manifested by your and Tommy's lives. God does not give us more than we can handle. The most special people endure some of life's greatest hardships, because He has created them to bear them. May you be doubly blessed for blessing us with your words.
I pray that 2013 will be as beautiful for you as you have painted 2012 to be for us.

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 12/25/2012 7:59PM

    What a great blog - thank you so much for sharing your good luck with us! Hope you both enjoy your car for many, many more years to come!!!

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LIVINGFREE19 12/25/2012 7:31PM

    What a beautiful blog, my friend!
We should all definitely count our blessings!

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SKIPPYDOG 12/25/2012 7:12PM

    Merry Christmas, that is awesome about your car, you guys deserve it. emoticon

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GOLFGMA 12/25/2012 6:42PM

    What a beautiful blog! (the car is extremely nice too). You and Tommy are blessed with each other and I would say the love you share couldn't be bought with MasterCard which makes it so precious. Your faith sets an example for all of us to keep in mind and follow. Wishing you a Merry, M emoticon erry Christmas!

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KKLENNERT809 12/25/2012 5:22PM

    Lots of blessings and Merry Chrstmas to you!

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NELLIEC 12/25/2012 4:41PM

    What a blessing. The best gift I can give is the gift of regular prayer!

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SUSANNAH31 12/25/2012 3:15PM

    I remember when you first wrote about your husband being diagnosed.
I am happy for you both that you have been able to spend these past four years together taking trips and engaging in activities that you both enjoy.
I wish you both a very Merry Christmas and many more good times together.


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PS And have fun with that car!!

Comment edited on: 12/25/2012 3:16:53 PM

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 12/25/2012 1:19PM

    Merry Christmas to you all! Yes you have been lucky and truly blessed in life despite Tommy's cancer. I love his attitude. When I worked in the Oncology unit at a local hospital, attitude was one of the defining factors I noticed in people's survival rates (I was a HUC). Those who had the fantastic attitudes towards everything did so much better. Tommy and you are inspirations to us all.
Sending you love & many hugs.
Ramona emoticon

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LIBBYG7 12/25/2012 10:38AM

    Dearest Cindy---
A Very Merry Christmas to you, Tommy, The Boys, and of course, Thor!

You are right on all counts - count your blessings and live each day---never put off what you really want to do -- love and hold close what is dear to you.
I'm one of the lucky ones too....my cancer was treated....and I'm 15 years in remission.

We all have our burdens to bear --- but in reality, there is only the here and now --- and we need to make the best of every moment given to us. You've taught me that in spades! I've had too many trials to count since my cancer - and thought of giving up more than once. Believe it or not = you and Tommy are one of my inspirations for never giving up!!! Believe in Tomorrow!

Big hugs to all...and a special scratch behind the ears for Thor!!!
Luv u.
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(can you hear the bells???)

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EVIE4NOW 12/25/2012 10:21AM

  Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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Tanglewood Festival of Lights

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We've been many times before, but it makes no difference. Every year we have to head to Tanglewood Park to drive through and enjoy the holiday lights display. It's tradition. Sometimes we even go more than once during the season.

Tonight we took Tommy's son Derek, daughter-in-law Sonya, and two grandchildren, Lindsay and Landon, with us. It was so much fun as we listened to Lindsay and Landon squeal with delight at the sight of Rudolph flying across the road above us and at the lighted Santa waving from the side of the road. Halfway through the drive, we stopped at the Big Red Barn where you can go inside and see all the local crafts for sale, and outside is the traditional big bonfire where you can roast marshmallows and drink hot chocolate or cappuccino.

So here's a little taste of the Festival of Lights that we look forward to every year!

The entrance to the park.

The Big Red Barn

Tommy clowning around and Lindsay eating her marshmallows at the bonfire.

The Nativity

I hope you all have the opportunity to enjoy some nice light displays, and seeing them through the eyes of a child makes them even more special.

Good Night my Spark Friends!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKIPPYDOG 12/24/2012 1:17PM

    thanks for sharing. Have a merry christmas. We are having a white christmas here in the West. YEA!!!

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CHANGE4THEBEST 12/16/2012 5:23PM

    Thanks for sharing your photos - a lovely evening had by all

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REMEMBER2BME 12/15/2012 6:39PM

    Too cool Thanks so much for sharing!

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HICKOK-HALEY 12/15/2012 3:33PM

    Loved all the Christmas lights. I can't believe it has been a year already. The Big Red Barn sounds like a lot of fun as well. I have never been to a public place where you can roast your own marshmallows. What a great day you had. Thanks for sharing with us! emoticon

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_JODI404 12/14/2012 9:46PM

    Your pictures turned out beautifully, and make a nice, festive page background!

Glad you got to enjoy yourselves, especially with the kids along.

Roasting marshmallows sounds wonderful!

Hope you have a good weekend ahead!

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KAYOTIC 12/14/2012 9:29PM

    That really looks lovely! Thanks for sharing it!

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SHESMITH1 12/12/2012 8:27PM

    Thank you, Cindy, for posting such beautiful pictures. I have not been to the Festival in several years (not since there's been a bonfire or crafts for sale at the barn!). Maybe I'll sneak over there with my little Sophie next week!

(Was that GolfGMa in that golfcart?!?!?!?!)

emoticon ...the reason for the season....

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MARGARITTM 12/12/2012 2:31PM

    What fun - brings back some memories of my own - when my son was small!

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LJCANNON 12/12/2012 12:04PM

    emoticon One of my FAVORITE Memories is taking my Grandmother from the Nursing Home to drive through the Christmas Light Display at the City Park. On the spur of the moment we stopped and got out of the car so that she could get her Picture made sitting nest to Santa! I am not sure that she understood that he was just a man dressed up?! She kept talking all evening about how Young his eyes looked! She carried that picture around with her for WEEKS!!
emoticon Taking the Grandchildren through the Display has to be about the only thing Better than that! Thanks for sharing your Lights!!

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SWAZY33 12/12/2012 11:38AM

    Love the pics! We used to have similar display near us but they stopped doing it a couple years ago emoticon

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LIVINGFREE19 12/12/2012 11:37AM

    Thanks for a beautiful blog!
I hope you have a great day!

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LIBBYG7 12/12/2012 10:47AM

    You're a lucky lady!!!

The photos are gorgeous----can't imagine how gorgeous it is in person!!!

Hugs. Libby

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CRYSTALLULLABY 12/12/2012 8:38AM

  Thanks for sharing the pictures - I do love looking for the Christmas Tree that peeks out over the trees when I'm on I-40. We went a few years ago and I remember being blown away by all of it. I also love the tumbling penguins at the entrance (again I also stare down the entrance road at dusk when I'm on 158 to watch it.)

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GOLFGMA 12/12/2012 7:10AM

    Oh Cindy, how beautifully you captured the lights. Took me back a few years of seeing them through the eyes of our children, then the grandchildren. My faves, of course , was the Nativity and then Santa in his golf cart. Every time I see the Nativity I am reminded of how much the birth of Christ means to us who believe, eternal life and love for us beyond compare or even comprehension. Thank you, thank you again for all your blogs this year. Keep'em coming and share this wonderful talent. emoticon Mel

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KAROLINELIEN 12/11/2012 11:30PM

    Wow! Beautiful!

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ILOVEMALI 12/11/2012 11:23PM

    Very cool! I've never seen anything like this!

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WORLDSERIES11 12/11/2012 10:56PM

    Looks like a fun night!! Thanks for the pictures!!

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NELLIEC 12/11/2012 10:48PM


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TIMOTHYNOHE 12/11/2012 10:23PM

    We always like to go to Symphony of Lights in Columbia MD. We love that stuff.

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JACKIE542 12/11/2012 10:16PM

    Very pretty, thank you so much for sharing.

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Shopping and Baking

Monday, December 10, 2012

Days off work should be days to rest, but for most of us that's not how it works out. Being off work today I should be rested up, but I'm more tired tonight than I was when I got home last night. It's not really bad though because overall it was a good day.

Tommy and I got up early because he had to go to the cancer center and get his port flushed. Because he's not on chemo right now, he has to have it flushed out about every six weeks. It only takes about five minutes and then he's finished.

After we left the cancer center we headed to Hanes Mall to do a little Christmas shopping. It was wonderful because there were very few people there and we were able to stroll leisurely around and look.

Even Santa Clause was kind of lonely, but I'm sure when school got out that changed.

Of course we always like to look at the decorations in the stores.

You can see how few people there were in the mall!

The food court with all of its tempting aromas! I'm happy to say that we kept walking.

After a few more quick stops and a couple gift purchases we headed home. When we got home Tommy took a nap and my son Cliff was there. He wanted to make gingerbread cookies so we made a quick run to the store for a few ingredients we needed. When we came home we turned on all the decorations inside and started baking.

Our Christmas tree.

Tommy's favorite decoration is the little Christmas village that we set up in our living room each year.

Oh my gosh! Is that leg lamps? I'm afraid so :-) One of my favorite movies is Christmas Story and several years ago my boys bought me the DVD. Unfortunately for them, it came with this string of leg lamps. They couldn't believe it when I put them up. Now it's become a tradition for me to find someplace in the house to string these up each year, mainly as a joke because my sons say this is the tackiest decoration ever. I just remind them that they bought them for me - haha. This year they're in my kitchen.

Finally, we finished baking and decorating our gingerbread men.

A few of our gingerbread men.

Now I think I'm going to go to bed early and get some much needed rest. We're hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow night so we can go to the Festival of Lights.

I hope all my Spark Friends are having a great week!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLFGMA 12/23/2012 4:48PM

    Love, the gingerbread men. Good job! emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 12/11/2012 3:57PM

    Sending you best wishes for a sweet holiday season, along with my prayers for your family. xoxo, Deb

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LIVINGFREE19 12/11/2012 3:35PM

    The pics are awesome!
The mall really did have very few people in it.
I am surprised at how busy our Walmart is on Saturday nights. People don't have money to go out to bars so they spend their money wisely-on groceries.
Have a great evening!

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LIBBYG7 12/11/2012 9:30AM

    What a lovely day.....Glad that Tommy's 'treatment' was so short.
I love to shop early in the morning - when the stores are usually empty.....Your mall looks so festive.

You guys sure know how to take a 'normal' day ---- and make it special. And,,,,,,I love your gingerbread men....Yum!!!

Big hugs..

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CRYSTALLULLABY 12/11/2012 8:25AM

  Wow - I can't believe how quiet the mall looked either! It seems like for a day off you got quite a lot accomplished - isn't that the way though? Hope you are well rested today.

I think you will have great weather for Tanglewood tonight. And hopefully it will not be as crowded as it normally is on the weekends. (The only thing I think of this time of year is "Remember you can't take 158 home from Winston." Yet inevitably I will get off the highway at Harper Road on a Saturday night to stop at HT or the gas station and then mumble at myself for forgetting.)

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GOLFGMA 12/11/2012 7:26AM

    Wow, you are busy. My grandsons and I have had a tradition of baking gingerbread men each Christmas. Most times they did the decorating with M & M's for eyes and buttons. They are 14 and 16 now and this year they decided to skip the cookie making. lol My kitchen is decorated with gingerbread items and I will bake some this week. The GS's still like to eat them! emoticon

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HICKOK-HALEY 12/11/2012 3:45AM

    The mall looks so festive. I love all the colors of Christmas. Our mall is packed. Even driving past the mall is crazy lol. I haven't been inside the mall yet, but you have inspired me. I should go. The cookies are adorable. Yum! emoticon

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_JODI404 12/10/2012 11:37PM

    I totally relate to often being more worn out from my days off!! Especially in the month of December ~ the to-do list just never ends!!

Sounds like you had a nice day, and it's always nice to avoid the hectic shopping crowds like you did today.

Your tree looks beautiful. Gingerbread cookies are definitely a favorite of mine ~ yours look wonderful! LOL at the leg lights!! I love it!

Hope you make it to the Festival of Lights tomorrow!

Have a great week!

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WORLDSERIES11 12/10/2012 11:20PM

    What a festive and fun day!!!
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NELLIEC 12/10/2012 10:26PM

    Since I have dry eye and dry mouth problems, it has pretty much killed my sense of smell, though I can smell very intense odors. Some people would say that is terrible, but since I like to look on the bright side, I can say I am less likely to be tempted by cooking odors! emoticon

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LACIEKAY 12/10/2012 9:46PM

    love the leg lamps emoticon

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JO88BAKO 12/10/2012 9:43PM

    Pretty tree. Cookies are adorable-look to good to eat. Merry Christmas

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