Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Caffeine Free

I am happy to announce that I have been gradually decreasing the amount of sweet tea I drink and then, more sharply in the past few days, so that I can get off caffeine and back to drinking the tonic herbal tea I used to drink years ago. The day before yesterday, I had it once, about 5-7 swallows and yesterday, I had none!! YAY!

I have had some withdrawal symptoms. Here is a list I found on Yahoo...

Headache – (often described as being gradual in development and diffuse, and sometimes throbbing and severe)
Fatigue -- (e.g., fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, sluggishness)
Sleepiness/drowsiness -- (e.g., sleepy, drowsy, yawning)
Difficulty concentrating -- (e.g., muzzy)
Work difficulty -- (e.g., decreased motivation for tasks/work)
Irritability -- (e.g., irritable, cross, miserable, decreased well-being/contentedness)
Depression -- (e.g., depressed mood)
Anxiety -- (e.g., anxious, nervous)
Flu-like symptoms -- (e.g., nausea/vomiting, muscle aches/stiffness, hot and cold spells, heavy feelings in arms or legs)
Impairment in psychomotor, vigilance and cognitive performances

The ones I have experienced are fatigue, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, decreased motivation for tasks, some anxiety and some depressed mood and irritability.

I have been going to bed earlier and sleeping later, and much less interested in chores like reading email, cooking, reading work-related stuff, etc. And two mornings in a row, I woke up thinking, in surprise, "I feel kinda depressed!"

But I am also experiencing some family stress right now so it is the perfect time to get off caffeine. That's part of the reason I chose now to actually make the break when I'd been gradually lessening the amount I drank for a couple of weeks.

I figure if I'm going to feel stressed anyway, I won't really be able to tell the difference.

BUT ... I'm glad to know that some of the symptoms I've been having may have had more to do with not drinking tea than with my reaction to stress.

And I am SO proud of myself!

"Most people will not feel the effects of caffeine withdrawal three to four days after stopping caffeine"

That's a relief! Because this is Day Two and my partner will be here for a visit on Day Four. I'll be sure to pass this prediction on to her :).

And I think I'll make some apricot tea sometime today. Though that's one of the chores I'm not yet in the mood for because I have to clean the tea maker, measure it out, pour in the water...

Here's what some people may find interesting: I have rarely had more than an 8oz. glass of tea in one day, broken up over 3-4 meals. Even when I had a part-time job for which I guzzled tea for energy, I never drank more than half a 12oz. cup. But I have always been very sensitive to caffeine!

"As little as one cup of coffee can produce addiction." ~~article from

I've been looking up natural methods for managing withdrawal symptoms. One is to drink more water, which I was already doing. Another is to drink peppermint tea ~~ but I have peppermint oil and was using that, too.

Another article suggested taking a B vitamin. I had a bottle in my cabinet and noticed it the other day so I've been taking it for two days now. I think it has helped, as have the water and the peppermint.

Crystals and an aromatherapy blend have helped the tension and stress and jitteriness.

I've been craving sweets because of the decrease in sugar ~~it was sweet tea, after all~~ but I have a fruit blend I drink in the morning, which I've added to my afternoon and evening, and a couple of times have just given in and had something sweet. Like Sunday's strawberry milkshake from McD's.

Ah, yes! I remember it well.

So, anyway, off I go into the wild blue caffeine-free yonder!

Apricot tea, anyone?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quiz: How Gay or Straight Are You?

Your result for The How gay or straight are you? Test...


Congratulations! You scored ###%!

Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual. You're in the grey. However, you are pretty much gay, and its unlikely that you'd get yourself involved with anyone but the same sex. There are always those instances where you may just click with someone, or, if enough alcohol is invovled, ANYTHING can happen. Chances are slim though, enjoy your partner!

Take The How gay or straight are you? Test

Friday, April 10, 2009

Farewell to Spring Break

We didn't watch a movie today, but we did go to Barnes & Noble. After a fabulous time there during which my son got to see several baby chicks and got to hold one of them (outside the store, in the mall), we went to lunch with my mother and later, hung out with her for a while at her house.

It has been a wonderful day and a fabulous week!

We've watched movies, slept in, had fun at Barnes & Noble a couple of times, and just had carefree time together. Tonight, my son will spend the night with my mother and I will go to the Tenebrae service at church. It's a little too powerful for young children.

But my son and did talk our way through this "last week" starting with Palm Sunday, so he knows the day Jesus was crucified and that yesterday was Passover, during which Jesus celebrated a last supper with his closest friends before telling them a very poignant goodbye.

During last week's homeschooling, he read several chapters in John and said he almost cried because it was so moving! I wish I could play a song by Bryan Duncan which really expresses the mood of those chapters...

I would like to say
Just before I leave you
I'll be back someday
And with me, I will take you
You will not suffer long
Only watch and pray
And wait for my return

Please know that I love you
I'll stay by your side
If only now in spirit
I'll still be your guide
You will not suffer long
And I've suffered for you
I love you with my life

Beautiful lyrics!

Hopefully, I'm remembering them exactly right. I tried to find the YouTube video but couldn't. But it is one of my favorite Easter songs, along with "The Easter Song" performed by both Keith Green and 2nd Chapter of Acts.

Anyway, what a lovely week!

And I expect a weekend just as powerful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Easter Means to Me

After Wednesday Night Supper tonight at my church, our pastor led a Bible study during which we watched a DVD presentation with Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan. This week's topic was Substitutionary Atonement.

They assert, and I agree, that Jesus gave his life as a sacrifice. He believed in his mission and his message so much that he stuck to his guns, so to speak, even though he knew it would probably lead to his death. The same could be said of Martin Luther King, Jr. or Ghandi. So his life was a sacrifice.

But not a substitute.

In fact, they make the point that part of Jesus' message was to let people know that instead of having to go to the temple to make a sacrifice and seek forgiveness through the high priest, they each had individual access to God and always had.

During the discussion afterward, the analogy I used was that it's like moving to a new place where the electricity has been turned on but the people moving in don't know it. So they don't flip the switch. And they remain in the dark.

One of the other people in the group asked, basically, "if Jesus didn't die for our sins, then do you still have to believe in him to go to heaven?".

The prevailing theme of the group's responses was that Jesus had a lot to say about how we should live and what impact a loving relationship with God should have on the way we live, but he didn't seemed to be focused so much on requirements. It is as if he was setlling once and for all that God loves and forgives us and then, says, "Now, then, how shall we live? Here are my suggestions...".

He wanted to make it clear that Roman imperialism was not the way, and neither were greed or force or violence, but instead, the way is love. God's love and our love for each other. Which cannot be taken away from us.

And the crucifixion followed by the resurrection demonstrates that with an exclamation point and in highlighted color.

That's what Easter means to me!

The lights are on. Flip the switch.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Marie, thanks for giving us Keith!

Marie Olbermann, Keith Olbermann's mother, died recently (did he say Saturday?) and he gave a brief tribute to her tonight on Countdown.

She sounded like quite a gal!

But since I did not know her, what explains my sense of loss? And how did I go from really enjoying his occasional diatribes, loving his perspective on the day's news and laughing at his sharp-tongued comments to grabbing at my heart when his voiced failed at the end of his loving tribute?

It's official (yeah, like it wasn't before!): I.Am.A.Sap

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Loving Us the Way a Mother Would

Today is Palm Sunday. Though I can't say I particularly enjoyed walking in with the palms and singing a hymn all the way through twice as we waited for nearly the entire congregation to amble in, I did imagine getting to be a part of the original anti-parade, and feeling all the pride and joy as I got to celebrate Jesus. I love to see people be honored or celebrated!

My mind wandered a little during the sermon, but one of the stories he told, when I was paying attention, really touched me.

He was quoting another pastor, I believe, who told of a night his young son had had a violent nightmare. A nun had told him in school that day that if he "wasn't a good boy" (or something similar), he might go to hell! So after this nightmare, when his father came into the room, he asked him if he was going to go to hell.

His father said, "All I know is, if you're going, I'm going with you!"

I teared up at that because I made the immediate comparison my pastor wanted us to make. That our God, who loved us so much, wanted to be with us in our suffering. That if we had to go through it, God was going to come to us and go through it with us!

It reminded me of the time when my son swallowed a penny (imagine the horror!), and had to have surgery to remove it. I could hardly bear to leave his side and indeed, asked them if I could go with him and hold his hand while they gave him the amnesia. I'm almost crying just remembering that moment. Because, of course, they told me no. But they told me in cheerful child voice for his benefit as well as mine that one of the nurses would be right there with him.

I have to say that I understand SO MUCH MORE about God's love for me now that I am a mother!!

So I love it when my pastor makes those kinds of comparisons. I get it instantly, and with feeling.

And what a gift for me as we head into Holy Week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So this is what happiness feels like...

I've been doing a lot of spiritual work lately. Dreamwork, intuitive readings, animal medicine, reiki, the Healing Codes. And I have a sense of mission and purpose and connectedness that is wonderfully new. Perhaps I'd lost sight of purpose? Was a little bored?

But I feel more connected to all that is and more aware that I'm here for a reason and that all of heaven would like to connect me with my life mission.

So I have lots of fun and exciting moments when I'm analyzing a dream or doing a reading for myself. And rewarding moments when I'm doing distant healing with my clients. Lovely breaks in the routine when I'm reading a book, watching a movie with my son, singing with him at the top of our lungs to a song on the radio as we're driving. Laughing with my partner over something one of us has said, looking ahead to when she'll be here for a visit or here for good.

And then, there are moments when I am inhaling pollen or so tired I can barely focus on the TV. Or putting on moisturizer. Or chewing an antacid. Slicing the boiled eggs and adding a little salt and pepper.

It was during one of those moments this afternoon when I stopped for a second and asked myself, "Is this happiness?" When people say they are happy can it include boring moments? Having an unresolved illness? Occasional exhaustion? Is my life similar to the lives of those people who pause and smile and say, "I'm happy!"?

I believe it is!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do you feel lucky? A St.Pat's "Tuesday Two"

It's St.Patrick's Day today and my son and I have been celebrating...

It all started with green eggs and bacon. We've also been listening to Irish musicians, drawing rainbows and telling leprechaun stories.

Here are the Tuesday Two for anyone who wants to play...

1) I am very lucky because ...

2) If I found a magic 4-leaf clover ...

And here are some tunes for inspiration...

Oh, you want to know my answers?

I am very lucky because...

I am married to the love of my life, I have a family I love, I know how to heal when I need it, I have a rich spiritual connection and faith that makes me feel surrounded by love and support, I have a cherished group of friends and a life mission I'm honored to live out each day to the best of my ability.

If I found a magic 4-leaf clover...

I would ask for 4 wishes, one for each clover

1) I would wish to be wealthy for the rest of a very long

2) I would wish to be healthy for the rest of a very long life

3) I would wish for every living being to be healed of all its wounds and be made whole (yes, this is "world peace" said differently)

4) I would wish for infinite wishes to be used whenever I needed them

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kids Say the Cutest Things

We were just about to pass the plants on our way into Kroger when my son asked me about why something was against the law and I explained it.

"You know, I used to think people were saying against the log!" he said.

"I kept wondering, what log?" he told me. "And I'd see a picture of a log in my head."

He said he still sees the log even though he now knows the correct way to say it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My Very First Womanless Beauty Pageant!

I had such a blast last night that I hardly know where to begin!

The event was a benefit for leukemia and lymphoma put together in part by one of my friends from church. And it was hosted by my favorite friend from church. Although I should say that it was his alter ego or female persona who did the hosting. Another church friend was a relcutant participant ~~ that is to say he was quite nervous about wearing a dress and strutting his stuff for the contest ~~ and he won the contest!!

He is Miss Thang 2009! :)

Watching him enjoy all the attention he received and seeing him ham it up quite a bit, more, I'm sure than he'd thought he would, was so much fun. He was awfully darn cute and endearingly vulnerable!

But I was completely charmed by the alter ego of my friend, the performer/host. It was like shining a spotlight on parts of who he is that only sort of sneak out from time to time, or reveal themselves in muted colors. Whereas this was full of life in every way, bright, bold, vivid, sparkly! That person doing the high kicks and riding the leg of someone who was slipping a dollar into his dress was my sweet, loving, sometimes kind of quiet friend!

But it was more than just talented and sexy performances. During one number, it felt like he was wearing his heart and his soul on top of his beautiful dress. He was lip-synching to "Do It Anyway" and it was so moving that tears came to my eyes!

Later, when I got home, I kept thinking about it and wanted to cry again!

I wonder if he puts on courage as he slips into his dress and secures the wig. Or does it just happen naturally when he hears the music?

I often dance in my head, and occasionally in my living room. And the way I feel is similar to how I felt when I used to do karaoke. Like I had all this feeling that I wanted to release, like I needed to express myself, to be myself, more than I usually do.

Is that what it's like for him, I wonder.

And does it help to become someone else before that kind of performance? Does the alter ego have a personality separate from his that sinks into his skin along with the makeup?

Who would I be if I could create an alter ego? Wonder Woman comes to mind. So does Xena. Were they handing a microphone to a shy warrior on all those Friday and Saturday nights years ago? Who was it that could dance by herself on the dance floor and get completely lost in the music?

As you can see, it was a fascinating experience.

And we raised $2500!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday Five: Taking A Break

I offer this Taking a Break Friday Five...

Tell us how you would spend:

1. a 15 minute break: reading a magazine or soaking up the sun on the balcony

2. an afternoon off: taking a nap, reading a book or watching a movie with my son

3. an unexpected free day: hanging out at home~~movies, popcorn

4. a week's vacation: I rarely go anywhere. Mine are all "staycations". I sleep late, have pancakes for breakfast, order pizzas, spend time with my family, read, watch TV, take naps. I'm taking next week off, actually, and I have all of that planned

5. a sabbatical: learning new healing modalities, writing a gay romance novel

Medicine Reiki

The most recent spiritual director training module has been my absolute favorite, so far, by far!

Since the retreat weekend that ended at the beginning of this month, I have looked for ways to delve deeper into the mysteries of animal medicine (no, not veterinary medicine) and have done medicine card readings and animal medicine meditations. It has been wonderful, and really seemed to reflect who I am.

But I wanted more!

I found out about medicine reiki and decided to pursue it. As I type right now, I am still lightheaded and tingly after an hour-long attunement to the medicine reiki energies. I knew the moment it started because I began to feel the energy. After a while, I could tell that it seemed to be moving chakra to chakra. I first became sure of it when I felt it at my heart chakra.

Suddenly, I felt like I loved everyone and wanted to help people. Though, of course, I have felt that way before, the deep, sweet tenderness was new. The longing to help, the sense of imperative, was new. Or long-forgotten.

And it felt like I was surrounded by vibrating waves of energy, all over, but also concentrated, at times, in certain chakra areas. I also felt the presence or energy of friendly, loving, vibrant companions. At times, I felt like there was an angel in the room. But also some kind of "wise man/shaman" energy.

Also, I had images of several of the animals I have come to know as part of my collection of animal totems: deer, dog, bear and moose. But also lion, which I had not previously identified. I felt like I heard a lion's roar in my head and I had this sense of power/empowerment. Right at that time, "I Am Woman" started playing on the radio in my head, which made me giggle a bit.

There was a quiet joy and confidence, a sense of being grounded and centered. Like I was sitting on the earth, sticking my hands into rich soil. A few moments were infused with a sense of the holy, with sacredness. And I had the thought that I want to help other people feel that way. That sense of connection with the sacred. It was God's presence plus a sense of awe, of majesty!

At one point during this experience, I felt like I was taking a magic carpet ride. As if there were vibrations beneath me. And then, that gave way to a deep, deep sense of peace.

After that, I felt a little sleepy. And that felt so normal that I thought maybe I could get up to get my notepad to write some of this stuff down. Before that, I had felt a desire to get up, but either didn't really feel like I could or didn't really want to when I considered it. But this time, I did, and I felt dizzy. Lightheaded. The way I feel right now, half an hour later!

But also excited! A sense of limitless possibility. A renewal of my calling to heal but this time, paired with a certainty that whatever my destiny is (healing, included), it will be fulfilled. So there was a lovely feeling of wellbeing and peace. Tingly peace, I suppose.

I have had several attunements over the years. But none this powerful! I'm really grateful.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Card from my Wife

I want you to know...
Life for me changed forever the day we met.

I could not know then
how one person could have
such a profound impact on me.

You have changed how I feel about
my hopes, my dreams, my fears, myself

You have made me a better person
And for that I will always love you.

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day

As I type, I am listening to the sweet music of my son's laughter in another room. How wonderful that for him, a special Valentine's Day would have to include a long talk with Grandma, filled with joy and lots of giggles.

Although I wish I had been able to celebrate with my entire family (all four of us), I've had a great day. My son and I gave each other Valentine's Day cards, watched two movies and went for a walk this afternoon. My card for him was a Smilebox, but he loved it!

I also enjoyed creating and sending Smilebox Valentines to my friends today. I felt tuned in to love today, connected to my friends, connected to my family. It was fun to cekebrate love.

And it's not over yet. After the kidlet is snugly tucked into bed, the wife and I will have some phone time to ourselves. She is not likely to be in much of a Valentine's Day mood, because this day is also the one-year anniversary of the death of her grandmother, and they were very close.

It bugs me that I can't be there to hold her as she thinks about her Grams, but I will do what I can as we talk. We haven't spoken today yet, but I feel very connected to her already. I feel her love for me and I hope she feels mine. I think my quieter energy is already prepared for our talk.

The sun did not make an appearance and I set the energy volume on low so today would be restful. It has been good, though. I love holidays!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

News Story about the President & the Homeless Woman

I'm delighted to find that the story continues! ...

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A woman's hard-luck tale at a town hall meeting in Florida moved President Barack Obama to leave the stage.

When Henrietta Hughes complained she'd been down on her luck and was living in her car with her son, Obama walked to her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Hughes said she was out of work and homeless, with "a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in."

A White House press secretary said administration officials asked the local housing authority to contact her after the exchange in Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, the wife of Florida state Rep. Nick Thompson offered to let the woman stay in a house she owns that's vacant about 30 miles away. Chene Thompson isn't sure if Hughes will take her up on the offer.

Couldn't find the Yahoo link to this story when I went back to look, but here's another one that includes the same basic info...

And here's the link for the video of their interaction...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Proud of my President

Amongst the crowd of listeners in Florida today, while Obama was selling the stimulus plan, was a dignified but troubled black woman who took the microphone to tell him through her tears, how much she needs the help he's been describing. In response, his voice cracked or wavered as he told her he wanted to help.

he promised to have his staff talk with her after the town hall meeting was over but reminded her and all of us that there are so many others just like her who need that kind of help.

He, then, walked over to her and kissed her on the cheek.

So that's the kind of president I want! And I feel damn lucky to have him.

He has said that he wakes up in the morning thinking about the help people like her need. I believe him!

Animal Medicine

In the most recent module of study for my spiritual director training, our focus was inner exploration, with an emphasis on animal medicine and dreamwork. It has been my favorite unit so far and I have fallen in love with animal medicine.

So I was looking around for more info online and came across this fun quiz.

I'm not sure how scientific the results are, but some of them replicated what I've found on my own.

Here are my results...

You Scored as Deer

You are the Deer. You tend to be very gentle with other animals of your domain and are also considered the innocent one, which is a good thing. You tend to be able to perceive more than others, which is a handy skill.

In descending order, the other animals...


Monday, February 9, 2009

"Wade in the Water" Pic for Homeschooling

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It's the middle of my homeschooling day today but I couldn't resist sharing the picture!

We're focusing on art and music today. In fact, he has a homeschooling ballroom dancing class later this afternoon and practice for their recital. But this month, we're studying black history, so we've been taking a look at the Underground Railroad. Earlier this month, we looked at slavery, the Civil War, Harriet Tubman and others.

Today, I asked for a picture of what "Wade in the Water" was all about in connection with that movement.

We're also taking a look at Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Marian Anderson and William Grant.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Remembering Heath

Today is the one-year anniversary of Heath's death. We miss you, Heath!

Brain in a fog
Eyes dry as a desert
Thoughts cluttered like leaves
On the sidewalk
One hour, just one hour
I’ll be okay
Just give me one hour

Body numb
Run down like an old car
28, but I feel 50 some days
One hour, that’s all I need
Silence the thoughts
Sink into the mattress
One hour, that’s all

How much time is there?
Not nearly enough
If only I could
Make it quiet
It’s too bright in here
The light hurts my eyes

I just need time
I’ll close my eyes
Just an hour
That’s all I need
Never enough time. So true.

Never enough time.
Jake. Michelle. Tildy.
My Tildy. My little girl.
I’ll see you soon

So this is what you think about
When you’re on the edge of--

Wonderful poem by Jack's Key... link to poem

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sweetest Hangover

"I've got the sweetest hangover
I don't want to get over.
Sweetest hangover.

I woke up quite tired today despite getting about 7 hours of sleep last night. Now, I did spend the entire day and night watching the entire Obama extravaganza. But I didn't actually stand out there in the cold, or walk for hours just to squeeze into a spot where I could watch it all from a distance. I didn't wander from party to party myself. I just watched it all on TV.

But I'm tired.

I finally figured out that it's cognitive dissonance!

Is this really happening? Is this real?

It was the kind of moment where I wanted to rub my eyes to see if I still saw the same thing afterward. There's a black man getting sworn in.

At one point during it all, I walked over to my balcony window and looked out. Yes, the sky is still blue. The sun is shining. The sky didn't darken because we broke the rule when we put a black guy in the white house. Looks like we're getting away with it?

The president has a little bit of swagger. You know, the way black men sometimes walk when they know who they are and feel pretty good about it. Of course in some neighborhoods, that walk would be exaggerated and might indicate something else entirely.

And last night, at the neighborhood ball, the president was dancing like a black man.

It reminded me of junior high dances at school. We used to call it slow dragging. That may have been regional. But it referred to a sexy kind of slow dance that enabled a fairly intimate connection. If you danced closely enough. Though he didn't hold his wife that closely, the president was dancing exactly that way.

And then later, there was a black man sleeping in the White House. I wonder if any alarms went off.

So, I really did see what I saw, right? You all can verify that for me. It all really happened? People were still talking about it today on TV so I guess it wasn't a dream.

But it sure feels like one.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Really Happening: President Barack Obama

I woke up excited this morning, and must confess that I've been excited all month long but particularly so in the last few days. I bounced out of bed, very uncharacteristic for me, and scurried around getting stuff before everything started so I could be in front of the TV when the big MSNBC coverage began.

Nearly every moment since has been thrilling and/or moving, but there are a few I want to highlight. And I want to say that I have never been more proud of my country!! I've thought of our history of slavery, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the absence of 40 acres and a mule for anyone to whom it was promised, lynching, segregation, the right to vote followed by voter suppression, integration, the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. and others involved in the journey.

And now, a moment in our history which I can only hope is being observed by a wonderful cloud of witnesses: we get to enjoy our very first African-American president.

When they introduced him, and the crowd went wild, I began to cry and kept saying to myself, "It's really happening! Oh my god, it's really happening!".
When he took the oath, instead of crying again, as I'd expected, I screamed! And so did my son, who then began a series of cartwheels. We both exclaimed as the wording on the screen changed to "President Barack Obama".

I cried when he sat behind the desk and later, got chills and a little teary when they played "Hail to the Chief" as he entered the luncheon.

What a momentous day! So exciting I can hardly stand it!!

(pictures from the AP)

ETA: Here's another blog post that celebrates this historic day and describes it as representative of a spiritual shift in our national consciousness. It also quoted me, so of course, I had to mention it!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back2Homeschool After the Holidays: Smart Art

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My son and I went back to homeschool this morning!

We had a wonderful holiday season!! We watched Christmas movies, baked cookies and bread and desserts, went to our church's Christmas Cantata, the Christmas party, the Christmas Eve service and several gatherings of the Wednesday Night Supper Club.

On New Year's Day, we ate black-eyed peas and collard greens and watched "A Grandpa for Christmas" with Grandma (my mother) who came over to celebrate with us.

But now, we're back in business :).

And we started with a play my son created called "Smart Art". Take a look and have a listen...