Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

I will not be one of those people who enter the Christmas season just wishing it was over.
However, I will also not ignore the strain that I feel this time of the year.
We all have the stress of the holidays, even those of us who try hard to focus on the true meaning.
Can we really escape it?
Can we really enjoy the entire Christmas season with all of it's crowds, parties and programs?
Those of us who love to shop often feel pressure to find a perfect suitable gift for the ones we love but who already have everything.

Our family (Jeffers and Russells) decided this year to really and truly "scale back". We've talked about it before,..but this year most of us really did it. Our plans were to spend our time/money on something which had a positive impact on others.
It was wonderful and I loved it.
I'm not relating the following info to make us look special or holier than others, but I'm sharing what has helped bring more meaning to my life during a wonderful but painful time.

Between all of us, we provided Christmas for several children through the Salvation army, we fed and clothed the hungry through an established organization in Little Rock and we established an award which will be given to a high school student in the North Pulaski Chorale department. It is in memory and honor of two of my favorite singers, father, Louie and his granddaughter Jae Lynn.

It's called the
Barefoot Singer Award

Singing with no shoes symbolizes vulnerability, passion and freedom
from barriers and inhibitions.
Singing barefooted heightens the senses of the
performer as well as the listener
by incorporating physical touch and sight
into the creation of musical sounds.

This award in presented tonight in memory of a singer who loved to
perform barefooted on this very stage.
When Jae Lynn Russell’s voice left us in 2004,
the entire choral department of North Pulaski came together,
removed their shoes and performed in her honor.

A Barefoot Singer will have a song
on their mind, in their heart and on their lips
in what ever circumstances they are in.

A Barefoot Singer will sing just as surely as they will breathe
and music is not so much considered a part of their life
as it is a part of their soul.
A Barefoot Singer is a lover, a dreamer and believes that
magical things can happen when music is in the air.

Although this Barefoot Singer award is going to a very talented individual,
it not their ability which sets them apart from their peers.
Rather, is their love of the song.
I don't know all of my readers and followers but I have loved your company this year.
Merry Christmas friends.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Shopping today in June's Hallmark of NLR almost led me into one of those Christmastimehumdingerhissyfits.
Have you ever had one of those?
I wrote about them here.

My time spent the past couple of days with Casey and Abby has left me pining for my other daughter.
What would Jae be like today?

Today, in the Hallmark store, I was reminded of a time, years ago, when I was in there shopping for something. Jae was about 8 years old and as we entered the store, her eye fell onto a small red teddy bear sitting in the middle of a hundred other stuffed animals. She gasped, knelt down in front of the rack, picked up the bear and followed me through the store. She cooed and whispered to it the entire time as I browsed for forgettable things.

She begged me for it.
Begged me I tell ya.

I said "no".

You should have witnessed the emotional parting she and this red teddy bear had right there in the aisle of that busy store.
It was a quiet separation but I knew she felt as if she was leaving someone special.

I recall a similar time when in a toy store at Branson, Jae saw a doll named "Polly Flinders". The minute she saw the doll, we could tell that it was different. She seemed to connect with it in a way that we had not seen before.
Her desire for Polly Flinders could best be described as ......desperate.
Even after Jae no longer played with dolls, Polly was never put away.

For some reason, this red teddy in the hallmark store seemed to be similar to Polly, so as soon as I could, I returned to purchase him for one of her Christmas presents.

Teddy became a very important member of our family.
He frequently got buckled in beside her in our family van, he slept on her pillow each night, waited for her to come home each day, he camped with us, accompanied us to Disney, occasionally went to church and he faithfully attended every cheer competition.
He was present as she filled her journals at night and I'm positive he was privy to many of her night-time musings.

In June's hallmark store today, I recalled Jae Lynn kneeling there and meeting Teddy for the first time.

I wanted to tell each mother in the store to buy whatever their kids wished for.

Teddy now sleeps in my room with me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mr Bean

My family loves Mr. Bean

annoying ads at the sure to "x" them out if they pop up!