A Holiday Helping Hand

Monday, December 11, 2017

This time of year can be tough for many under normal circumstances. But for others, times are extraordinarily bad. These two families are facing the extraordinary. One family I know personally, the other is new to the neighborhood. Both need a helping hand...if enough donate $5, it will add up. Please consider reading their stories and helping if you can. Regardless, please share their tales.

Thank you...

Imagine losing your job of fifteen years just before the holidays. But that's okay, you think, you have a home paid for in another state. A home that was planned for retirement. Not ready to retire, but now a place for a new start. You pack up your family and move from New Jersey to Tennessee, ready for a thankful Thanksgiving with plans for a joyous Christmas. But it was not to be....your dream house had been vandalized beyond recognition.

Then toss in ending up in the hospital for several days due to issues with her diabetes. If that's not enough, one contractor has stopped work until he is paid - paid for something that isn't' passing inspection. All your credit cards are maxed between hotel bills and sheetrock & drywall that is slowing going in to help make the house a home again. You're heating up lunch, soup in cans on top of the kerosene heater you're running - remember, no electricity in the house.

And don't forget, Christmas is just around the corner.

I visited Sunday and took them groceries, a couple of Christmas things for their eight year old daughter and dog food. Please read their story and possibly help...
 Please read their story and maybe help...
The second family's story started several months ago and unfortunately today, it's an all too common one. Cancer strikes, once again. She's forty-one years old. Married. Has a teenage son. And, as you now know, is battling cancer. Her family recently moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina, so they don't have a strong connection to the community. Ellen's parents live on the west coast and fly back and forth, staying with Ellen as long as possible.

Ellen's son, Tyler, is a champion high school wrestler and I've been a long distance supporter of him for several years. Ellen's father, Lee Lofland, is a personal friend, a former police officer, a writer and the founder of the Writer's Police Academy (which I attended in 2014). He has spent his life helping others, now we have the chance to return just a small portion of that help. Even with insurance, the medical bills mount. And they don't begin to cover the costs of driving back and forth for treatments and other appointments. The financial toll is staggering (and I know this from personal experience with my late husband). Please read Ellen's story and all the updates and maybe you can help.

 Please read Ellen's story and see if you can help
Ellen and her husband at one of Tyler's winning wrestling meets.
Thank you again....and Merry Christmas!

Ciao for now!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Now that it's December, I wanted to put up some Christmas decorations. Our decorations were semi-sorted into three groups. First was anything we have bought since we moved into the house. That stuff was stashed in the guest room closet. Next were the larger items that had been stored in the RV, things that wouldn't fit into the red or green totes bought just for Christmas items. Third was, obviously, the red or green totes.

Well, that was the plan and we all know about Murphy and his laws. I found one red and one green tote, unpacked them and uh-oh, a major portion of our ornaments were missing (including a similar to this stuffed Christmas tree that I bought specifically for the RV).

I suspect they are buried in one of the dozens of totes stacked in the garage. So I settled for the new decorations and things I recently bought online (like these great pillows tossed on the sofa and the ceramic lighted Christmas tree I found at Kohl's online for under $30 but got free with Kohl's cash). The runner came from the Dollar Store (along with a few things in the kitchen) and the handmade creche scene was bought from a new local friend.

Here is the tree lit up - I've wanted one since my twenties....and now I have one and love it.

We have red bows on the mailbox, a giant reindeer head in the kitchen, a giant Santa hat on the front door and few other miscellaneous things scattered around.

I haven't started baking Christmas cookies yet, that will be later next week, after we get back from out final-for-this-year Dollywood visit. But I did bake a nice loaf of Blueberry Banana Nut Bread. Yum!

We plan on peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, with the peanut butter stored in separate tins in case anyone has a nut allergy. They'll go to our mailman, our vet's office and our doggy daycare/grooming/boarding folks.

We got a little snow today - enough to dust the deck (more arrived after dark) and encourage the dogs to lick it up. They are loving the cool weather, staying outside playing most of the day.

Tonight they proved there was more than a light dusting outside in the yard....LOL!

"Jeremiah was a bull frog..."

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Introducing a new addition to our family - Jeremiah Jeep, aka JJ - a 2011 Jeep Patriot Latitude X 4x4 70th Anniversary Edition. It was a one owner car with less than 59k miles. These are photos from the dealer's website.

Here are some of the main features:
  • 4WD/AWD
  • AM/FM Stereo with Navigation system & SiriusXM
  • Adjustable Steering
  • Air Conditioning
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
  • Cruise Control
  • CD/DVD Player
  • Fog Lights
  • Front Air Dam
  • Heated Mirror 
  • Heated Leather Seats
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Leather Upholstery
  • Power Brakes
  • Power Locks
  • Power Mirror
  • Power Driver Seat
  • Power Steering
  • Power Windows
  • Premium Wheels
  • Rear Wiper
  • Second Row Folding Seat
  • Security System
  • Stability Control
  • Steering Mounted Controls
  • Tachometer
  • Tinted Glass
  • Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Traction Control
  • Trip Computer
I am in LOVE! It handles like a dream, steers beautifully (remember, I've been driving a pickup since 2012. This is a dream car with room for the dogs in the back and still plenty of room for groceries in the back seat. Oh yeah, and regular gas instead of diesel and better gas mileage.

Ciao for now!