Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy New Year!

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” 
~ Henry David Thoreau

Happy 2012! I can't believe another year is gone...

I guess you are expecting something profound about 2011. And really...all I can say is that it was very eventful. It seems like it flew by when I look at it in retrospect, but there were definitely months that seemed to never end!

 The first 5 months were consumed with Billy's deployment...then I spent the summer just rebuilding myself - and trying to stay cool in the 100+ degree weather every day! Then this fall/winter have just been a blur with all the girls' activities, etc.

2011 was good to me overall. Even with it's tough moments, it was definitely a year to be remembered. I made some incredible new friends...and I got to spend time with my Marine moms (and DAD, Pete...) in North Carolina! I was reminded that my 88ers are still some of my all time favorite people - and are there for me no matter what. (Brent...that wast just for you..silly boy.)  And I was reminded that my 'inner circle' is never too small to have a new addition here and there. (Sometimes those new additions become even more important that I'd have ever guessed too!)

So - here we are.  A new year. A fresh start.

I wonder what I'll do with this opportunity. Resolutions really aren't my style - so I won't be making some big list of things I want to change. But I do hope to make the most of 2012.

It's going to be a good one. I just know it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Life Well Lived

“Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” 
~ William Soroyan

“Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; 
make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.” 
~ Horace

I couldn't pick just one quote today.  In fact, I'm not sure I can pick just one thought for this blog entry.  My thoughts are disjointed...much like the fact that I attended a funeral during what is supposed to be the "most wonderful time of the year." 

My career at the Presbyterian Home for Children was an incredible opportunity to meet some of the world's most generous, kind-hearted people in the world. But often these amazing people were in their twilight years, so I have attended a large number of funerals to remember those who have passed on and are receiving their crowns in Heaven. Those of you who know me well also know that I love hearing stories about people's lives and the differences they made for others. So attending these funerals is a great chance to hear some of those stories.

The gentleman being remembered today was 90. He lived his life to its fullest. He loved his family, and loved his country. I learned so many things about him that I never knew by attending his funeral. I always knew he was a great guy, but now all the dots are connected for me. It wasn't just a hunch I had. His sweet spirit was something everyone else saw too. I also know he's in Heaven with his precious wife.

However, today I not only got to hear stories about this great guy whose family was involved at PHC. I was blessed to see many of the great people who made my job there so amazing. I sat down the pew from a gentleman who actually got married in the auditorium at PHC back before his church was built. He is in his late 80's and very introspective. When we talked, he mentioned to me that he is in his latter years like Roy was, and how he is trying to enjoy he time he has left. It made me sort of melancholy to hear him talk that way...even though I know he's right. He's looking back on more years than he'll ever look forward to again.

No sooner than he said that to me another gentleman walked up and told us that his 100th birthday is just around the corner (in July), and he hoped we'd be able to make it to the party. Coincidentally, he was the other gentleman's music teacher in 5th grade! And while talking about that, the 'student' got teary eyed...which of course made me tear up too. It reminded me that I need to be thankful for my youth. To enjoy what I can do because it won't last forever.

A friend (closer to my age of 29) and I got to discussing how reflective many of those in attendance must be. They are slowly saying goodbye to all of their friends as they grow older. And they realize that their demise will come sooner rather than later. It must be the strangest feeling. We were both a little sadder for thinking about it. Not so much for what we'd experience someday - but for those who were going to leave and reflect on that fact. *sigh*

So....I resolved today to live my life to its fullest. If I haven't been already, I will make the most of every moment. Take mental pictures of everything - and appreciate every feeling, good or bad. I will be thankful for this life I've been given.  

When I am gone, I want people to remember that I lived and didn't apologize for it. That I cared more than they ever thought possible. And that I loved with abandon. That I gave all I had to give......

Anyone with me? 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Pressure of It ALL....

Can we talk about Christmas cards for a minute? And the fact that I HATE going to the post office? (Anyone who has waited on me to mail them something already knows that.)

BC (before children), I was really good about mailing Christmas cards.

Of course, that was back when you went to Hallmark, bought some cheesy cards in a box, signed them and mailed them. None of this fancy stuff with pictures, etc. Just your basic"Hey friend - Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, blah blah blah.." Those who had kids would send a letter. Those of us who didn't stuck with a simple card.

Now it's this huge responsibility! Get the right pictures, pick the right background...make sure the card expresses the right sentiment. GOOD GOSH!!!! It's just too much for me this year.

We moved the shop. I had a root canal. My rooster, Betty Cocker, is my new focus. I have a blog...I have a Twitter... AND I HAVE PINTEREST TO PERUSE!  Christmas cards just may not happen this year.

Now might be a good time to mention that one time I found my unmailed Christmas cards from 2 years prior in a bag I'd tossed into a closet. I guess just flat forgot to mail them. *sigh* They had just been pushed aside for whatever reason.  But that didn't deter me. No sirree....I sent them out at Valentine's Day anyway. (I hated to waste all that effort even if it was 2 years old.)

And I'll admit. I DID take the time to write a Christmas letter. I had great intentions. And we DO have great family pictures.  I could absolutely do a card. But I think I'll be going green this year. I'll just say Merry Christmas to you here.  And you can read my Christmas letter here too. (See how I did that? My laziness suddenly became an act of pure responsibility to the environment. It's just how I roll...)

Here ya go. I used one of my fancy Pinterest-found fonts. Don't judge.

December 2011

Greetings! I hope this letter finds you and yours having the happiest of Holiday Seasons, The Smith Household is great!

Billys deployment ended up being a little more involved than any of us expected. He was sent to Afghanistan, and We found ourselves on our knees praying it would just end sooner than later., May was a great month as we celebrated his homecoming and his one year adoption “birthday”! Since then he has been racking up awards and running 5ks to pass the time. 
He brought back some awesome souvenirs for all of us - the most unique of which was a blue Mickey Mouse for his mommy. (Which apparently made quite an impression in him in Italy as did a few other things we won't talk about.)

#1 Billy question: When will he be finished with active duty?             
Our answer: November 17, 2012 but we hope he gets released early to attend WTAMU in the Fall of 2012!

Gracey entered the “teen years” in June and promptly became a teenager in every sense of the word. Eighth grade has been much tougher academically, and she has found texting, eyerolling, and loud sighing really cuts into  her homework time! She’s still on the swim team and pep squad plus she added volleyball to her repertoire this year. Cute as can be even with her eyes rolled into the back of her head we can’t imagine what we’d do without our lil’ blond!

#1 Gracey Question: Does she have a boyfriend?
Our answer: Not currently and if her father and brother had their way, she never would.

Sadie can be summed up in one word: CHATTY! That girl is destined to be a great storyteller. She writes as well as she talks and loves coming home with new vocabulary words. I have NO idea where she gets that trait.cough cough  She is a master negotiator and has decided to spend half her time at Mums’ house with her cousin Justis. Sometimes we feel as though we only have partial custody of her but she keeps us in the loop by regaling us with stories of all the adventures in the metropolis of Dawn, Texas. Fifth grade has been fun, but she’s dying to get to Ascension Academy!

#1 Sadie Question: Does she ever stop talking?
Our answer: No.

Kerry and Charee

Kerry moved the flower shop to a new location. After 6 years in his original spot, the rent just became outrageous. So, along with all those early business memories, he boxed everything up and is starting over in a new spot Keep us in your prayers as we make this big transition.  
As for other “Kerry” stuff, he and Billy now are proud owners of mountain bicycles,. He’s been riding out at Palo Duro Canyon whenever he gets the chance. He’s had very few “home improvement projects this year, so I’ll be making a list of things for him to do is 2012 to make up for that! Haha!

As for me, I regularly remind myself that the day will come when I’ll wish I had giggling teenagers dancing around in my car as I carpool them to or from the 14th event of the day.. I’m thinking of buying an RV. Then I'll be hiring a driver so that we moms can have cocktails, take a nap and cook dinner as we transport our kids from one activity to another.

We started taking ballroom dancing lessons and have really enjoyed them. On the positive side: I think we might actually look like we know how to dance sometimes. On the negative side: We can’t seem to dance in front of others without bickering. Guess we’ll never make it to the professional circuit.

Our year of fame over the adoption has hopefully come to a close - and I can be my normal sarcastic self everywhere I go. (It's hard being the sweet little adoptive mother all the time. Let's face it...I'm not that cute. haha)

 That’s about it for us. We are, as always, incredibly thankful for all our blessings and for you. Merry Christmas. May the light of Christ shine in each of you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Ok. I have a serious addiction. (Hi. My name is Charee....I am a Pinterest Addict.)

WHY oh WHY did someone have to tell me about Pinterest?  Seriously. WHY?

I'm a busy girl. I have a full life.

I have too much to do.

And now.............I have PINTEREST TOO. I can't even help myself. I go check it 20 times a day. I find myself wondering what others have pinned. *Are there any great ideas there today?*  *Did someone pin a great recipe I might miss?*  *I wonder if there's a good gift idea for my friends.*

Ugh. Stupid Pinterest. It's way worse than Facebook. I think....

Don't know what it is? Well, I hate to enlighten you because I feel like a drug dealer even suggesting you check it out.

And yet....I have to admit that I have had GREAT luck with a lot of the ideas I've found there. My family is loving the recipe side. Every recipe I've tried has turned out perfect.

The DIY stuff has given me a ton of ideas that I can't wait to have Kerry try for me. Ha! He's going to make me all kinds of cool stuff!!

The wedding flowers ideas are better than all the magazines and books we bought to keep at the shop. I know brides will come in with great insight into what they want if they use Pinterest.

Oh!! And they have all these great ideas for putting clothes, shoes, accessories together too. Super cute stuff. Gives me all kinds of ideas for all the clothes I need to buy.

Then there's the greatest idea EVER. The one that changed my life (and Randi's..she told me)... If you need to shred your cooked chicken breasts, just throw them in your KitchenAid mixer with the paddle beater and turn it on about 4 or 5.  Literally shreds the chicken in under a minute.

Ugh...see what I mean?  I'm an addict.  Even as I sit here, I'm worried that I'm missing some great quote or insight.

Excuse me....I'll be right back.

Monday, December 12, 2011


"You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you."
 ~ The Beatles

Not everyone gets to celebrate her birthday with pomp and circumstance......or with a giant chicken/rooster/cock.  I am a lucky girl indeed! (For those who are unfamiliar with this whole thing, you should read THIS.  BUT...IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED BY PROFANITY, DO NOT READ.)

My family surprised me with him this morning as I was getting beautified for work. I am seriously in love. His name, for the moment, is Eliza Cockadoodle. But that could change.
Isn't he awesome?

Gracey insisted I kiss him on the lips. I'll refrain from any inappropriate jokes here.
Isn't he so cute??
Ok...enough about that.

In other news, my birthday has always been special for another reason:  my dear friend Mindy and I share it! (There were two others we grew up with that shared our birthday as well....AND we all four attended the same church growing up. Strange, but true.) She loves to remind me that I'm 5 hours older. And we used to spend at least part of the day together - until she moved away and left me. LEFT ME ALONE FOR OUR BIRTHDAY ELEVEN YEARS AGO! *sniff*

You'd think that we'd be similar since we share a birthday. That we'd think alike or look alike or something. But nope. She's a tiny blond. I'm a big brunette. She's sweet and demure. I'm sassy and loud. She always makes the right choice the first time. I test every boundary at least twice.  God knew better than to make us too much alike. We might have hated each other - and that wouldn't have worked out so well in such a small town. Instead, we were thick as thieves. And we love each other to a fault. Don't know what I'd do without my Min.

Oddly, Randi's little sister shares our birthday too. And Randi is the one who wanted me to start a blog. Apparently she's more like me than Mindy though.....which could mean serious trouble for those around us if we ever meet.  Who knew December 12th was such a popular day to give birth?!?

So...that's all I've got. I'm getting old. It's hard maintaining 29 for so many years.....senility is just around the corner, I'm sure.  And...with that.....I bid you adieu! Have a great week!

PS. In honor of my newly acquired rooster, I have changed my blog background to a cock theme. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Found Some Tunes!

I should have just posted a few lyrics from Florence and the Machine the other day. She seems to express herself perfectly through song and word! (Much better than I do when I sing..) So...I'm actually going to post a couple today. I hope you enjoy them....because they are my new favorites! Don't read too much into this post..... I'm just loving her stuff!

Here's the video for "Shake it Out"

And here are the lyrics for one of the songs that is AWESOME!
"All This and Heaven Too"
And the heart is hard to translate,
It has a language of it's own,
It talks and tongues and quiet sighs and prayers and proclamations,
In the grand days of great men and the smallest of gestures,
In short shallow gasps.

But with all my education,
I can't seem to commend it,
And the words are all escaping me,
And coming back all damaged,
And I would put them back in poetry,
If I only knew how,
I can't seem to understand it,

And I would give all this and heaven too,
I would give it all if only for a moment,
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see,
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever,
But it never makes sense to me at all.

And it talks to me in tiptoes,
And sings to me inside,
It cries out in the darkest night,
And breaks in morning light.

But with all my education,
I can't seem to commend it,
And the words are all escaping,
And coming back all damaged,
And I would put them back in poetry,
If I only knew how,
I can't seem to understand it,

And I would give all this and heaven too,
I would give it all if only for a moment,
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see,
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever,
But it never makes sense to me at all.

And I would give all this and heaven too,
I would give it all if only for a moment,
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see,
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever,
But it never makes sense to me at all.

No, words are a language,
It doesn't deserve such treatment,
And all my stumbling phrases,
Never amounted to anything worth this feeling,
All this heaven,
Never could describe such a feeling as I'm having,
Words were never so useful,
So I was screaming out a language that I never knew existed before.