Waffle House Christmas…

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my fondest Christmas memories was eating breakfast at the Waffle House in the midst of all the holiday chaos. This Christmas, Chris and I got up and went to the local Waffle House for breakfast. It was such a wonderful experience! We were greeted by a sweet young man named Will who had only been working there for a few days. His job was to seat us as seats became available. He was all excited about his new job and full of interesting tidbit trivia about his employer. Did you know that Christmas day is their busiest day of the year?

Once we were seated, we were greeted by the most wonderful waitress. Her name I did not catch, but she really brightened our morning. The cooks were cheerful and playful, tossing our eggs in the air and catching them behind their backs. Our food was cooked quickly and to perfection, despite my finicky ordering. The jukebox continuously poured out Christmas music: Elvis’s Blue Christmas; Alabama’s Merry Christmas, amongst others. People continued to file in, some in their new Christmas clothes, and others still in their Christmas pajamas. I was overcome with joy. And to top the whole thing off, seated across from me in my booth was my soon to be husband. I couldn’t have been happier.

I decided that the Waffle House in an awesome Christmas memory. Even as an adult. Now all I need is a Waffle House Christmas ornament to hang on my tree next year.

Thank you Cartersville Waffle House for brightening my Christmas morning. I know there were probably other places you’d rather been that morning instead of working, but you never let it show. God bless you!

Published in: on December 28, 2006 at 5:31 am  Comments (1)  

Commenting on Closed Comments…

My fiance’ has his own blog, but keeps comments closed. (Don’t tell anyone, but he’s sort of an internet snob.) Today he posted a super short entry, and I had to comment on it.

My comment is as follows: GA 400 did not make the list for two reasons: Chris and I do not regularly travel on GA 400. If either of us did, it would have made the list.
Anyone who has ever ridden in a car with either one of us knows what I’m talking about…

Published in: on December 19, 2006 at 7:19 am  Comments (2)  

My latest discovery…

One of my favorite past times ever is shopping at yard sales and flea markets. It stems from warm childhood memories of Saturday mornings with my dad. Sometimes we would go to the flea market and haggle over anything, eat boiled peanuts until our tummies ached, and drink cold, glass-bottled Coca-Cola. Other times, we would ride through the country for hours with no real purpose in mind, looking at the beautiful Georgia hills and mountains, and stop at every yard sale we stumbled upon.

Anytime I am able to do either, I’m taken over by strong feelings of nostalgia. As an adult, most of my favorite pieces of furniture, books, or other items are not pieces I spent lots of money on. They are odd items I’ve picked up here and there: an unheard of flea market I happened to stumble upon while out driving, or an awesome yard sale. There is always a memory connected to how I found the item and the bargaining involved to get an awesome deal, thanks to the haggling and bargain-hunting skills I inherited from my dad.

Unfortunately, a jam-packed schedule prevents me from finding the time to take advantage of this kind of shopping as often as I would like. It’s not easy finding such rare finds. It requires time, patience, and luck.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered something new:Craig’s List! It’s the most awesome thing. It’s a huge online yard sale! You can find anything, and for cheap. Usually pictures are posted, and you can do all the haggling through email instead of face to face, which allows me to be more ruthless because I’m not worried about insulting anyone. If I don’t like the price I’m given then I don’t have to even look at it. It’s the best thing ever! I can go to yard sales and flea markets whenever I want, right from the comfort of my own home. So far I’ve gotten a futon frame someone originally purchased from Ikea (which was much needed because my students destroyed mine), a basketball goal for my son’s Christmas present, and a television stand for Chris’s house.

If you’ve never heard of it, or if you’re looking to buy anything new or used and want a good deal, check out the website. http://www.craigslist.com

You might just be as surprised and excited as me. Happy shopping!!

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 7:28 am  Comments (3)  

Christmas Chaos…

The holidays are supposed to be a joyous and happy time of year. For years the holidays had the opposite effect on me. Christmas carols, city decorations, and local festivities stirred sadness instead of excitement within me. As I became older, this confused me. I wasn’t sure why my natural reaction was so sad and negative. I always knew deep inside of me that it was somehow linked to my parents divorcing when I was a young child. The exact relation of the two was unclear. However, this Christmas some light is beginning to shed on the situation.

I have been struggling with the fact that this will be my first Christmas without my children waking up in my home. Even though I’ve spent several Christmas’s since getting separated and divorced, the relationship I had maintained with my ex-husband and his family made it possible for us to continue spending the holidays together as a family. This made things simpler and easier on all of us.

However, this year our life situations have changed. Each of us have moved on and formed meaningful relationships with others forcing us to begin celebrating the holidays with our new families. This is difficult enough when two people are married for the first time. It can be tough deciding where you spend the holidays and with whom. Because I’m divorced and have children, the situation is much more complex. It has been a draining task trying to decide who to visit when without spreading myself and the kids too thin.

My biggest concern is stability for Maddie and Noah. I am fairly persistent in traveling as little as possible during the holidays. I like to limit my visits and activities to no more than one a day. Others sometimes have a hard time understanding why, but I remember my childhood too clearly during Christmas. I would wake up at my dad’s, open my gifts from Santa, then run to my grandmother’s house for dinner and to exchange gifts. It seems that no sooner did I arrive there, that my mom showed up to pick me up for her half of the holidays. I would have to run inside, wish all of my relatives a Merry Christmas, open my gifts from them on the way out of the house, or in the driveway itself while saying goodbye. I would climb in the car, and begin an hour long drive to pick up my stepsister for the holidays. On the way there, my mom would hand my brother and I our Christmas gifts and we would open them while riding in the car. Once we arrived at my stepsister’s house, she would do the same. We would usually stop and eat a meal at the Waffle House, (it was the only place ever open), and then we would go to my stepfather’s parents’ house to celebrate Christmas with them. Sometime later that night we would arrive at my mom’s too tired to do anything but sleep.

No wonder the holidays brought such non-fuzzy feelings for me. The irony of the situation is this: All of this running around was done in an effort to please everyone. People were unwilling to change tradition because of tradition. Make sense? The result, several children grew up dreading the holidays. It was not a holiday that brought memories of peace, love, and joy. The only joyful Christmas memories I have are the following: making homemade Christmas ornaments with my mom before my parents divorced, decorating the Christmas tree at my dad’s house, eating at the Waffle House Christmas day, and eating chocolate chip cookies my mom baked. (I’m sure the baking of these cookies would have made it to the list except they were baked the week before my visit with her.)

As a result of this, I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible for my own children. I’ve learned that running all over the world visiting everyone in efforts to please create nothing but “Christmas chaos”. The season isn’t about the shuffle. It’s not about giving and receiving gifts from one to another. It’s ultimately about one gift: God’s gift of eternal life through his son’s birth. It’s our gift to receive. Even though the time of year is not accurate, it is the time people long ago decided to celebrate this glorious event. In all the chaos, how often do we stop and ponder on this wonderful gift that was offered to us? Is it something we have received? If not, is it something you’re willing to receive? Contemplating receiving? If you have already received it, you know how marvelous it is. If you’re willing or contemplating receipt of this gift, let me tell you: You won’t regret it! Nothing that we could ever give one another on earth even compares. The season should be about love and peace. How much of of each are incorporated into your holiday this year? What is your focus? Is it running house to house in an effort to please men, or is it spending time loving and reflecting on the most awesome gift of love ever offered?

Think about it. It’s a Christ-centered holiday. How often does your family sit around and read scripture together? (Mine doesn’t.) When you’re gathered together, how many of you talk about the real reason we celebrate the holiday, and talk in detail about the story of Christ’s birth and what is means to us? All I’m saying is, I think we’ve complicated something meant to be simple. My question to you is this: Why do you celebrate the holiday? Search your heart and ask yourself, “What does this season mean to me?”. Then plan accordingly. It really can and should be that simple.

Published in: on December 8, 2006 at 2:48 pm  Comments (2)