Tag Archives: family

Holiday Blues

18 Dec

As I sit here in my house, alone in my living room, I look around. My ornaments sitting in their containers from storage.  They’re sitting in the same place they’ve been for over a week now. I had a thought that I wanted my children to decorate the tree this year to give them a memory as well as for me to see this is a step to the inevitable that soon enough they won’t be in my home anymore since they are growing up after all. My husband and I shared a happy though not-so-healthy breakfast followed by him retreating to the den to watch some television.

So I sit in my living room about to wrap some gifts, dog at my feet and coffee in my hand. I am listening to Christmas music that takes me back a few years when I was a kid in a house full of chaos.  A time when my parents were alive, my siblings weren’t married and some weren’t even born. We lived out in the country on a ranch where my father worked. We lived a simple life like many in our small town. But with a huge family…at that time I had only 8 siblings, there was always something going on>> Noise, arguing, laughing, no privacy, in our 3 bedroom home with 1 bathroom. I decided I only wanted 3 kids and that’s what I had.

Now, their ages are 24, 20, and 18. I sit here alone with a part of me proud at the young men they’re turning out to be and a part of me wishing they were little running around the house laughing and wrestling on the floor. A time when they had no worries in life….when they still had both sets of grandparents.

So as the empty nest feeling starts to hit me a little, I think of all the people who have lost someone, especially this year and this will be the first Christmas without their loved one. A sad time, no doubt.

Christmas to me has ALWAYS been about celebrating the birth of Jesus, family, good and happy times. And that is what I want it to be for me ALWAYS!!! I hope that everyone can find a glimpse of hope in their heart that can spark a smile on their face followed by love and happiness in their own way. I pray that in the spirit of Christmas, we find the hope in our own hearts that each of needs to bring about true faith, love, and put Christ at the center of our lives.

No one can predict what will happen tomorrow, nor are we promised a tomorrow in this life…so from the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and God bless you all.


non-human family

21 Jun


Meet the new addition to the crazy family AND their pets! Her adorable self is a pitbull and a lovable one!!

Our family LOVES our pets and treats them as a part of our family.  They are given so much love and attention, even in this crazy busy household.  They aren’t walked every day 😦 but that is because we are so busy…..BUT they are given lots of love, lots of mental and physical stimulation and plenty of exercise.

I suffer from allergies — really bad so prolonged exposure to the dogs is really bad for my own health, but the love the dogs give me is too much to stay away from. My oldest son brought home a chihuahua. A cute and adorable dog! But then he moved away….the son NOT the dog….and we had 2 dogs.  The one dog that I use to call my own got sick and we had to put her down 😥  But before she went down, my hubby brought home another dog just to help.  Here is my dog the morning we put her down:


Then to “replace” her my hubby got a lab/sharpei mix….interesting doggy but nonetheless a part of our family.  And I use the word replace losely because my dog was not replaceable.  But to help with the sadness and the void, we got the next one….

THEN my son’s girlfriend gives him a brand new pitbull puppy February 2011.  So minus MY dog, we now have 3 dogs—1 chihuahua, 1 lab/sharpei mix, and now 1 pitbull puppy.

The chihuahua: ShakiImage

Well, a year and half goes by. We’re in a routine with the dogs. Each one has their very own personality. And boy do they–each one quite spoiled….SEE:



Image Sleeping away in the comfort of their very thick and very plush beds!

And sometimes they even sleep in the comfort of MY bed!


So yeah, we spoil the heck out of our pets. I think we need to find another word besides PET to describe non-human members of our family. We love them, we spoil them so much! I have a folder with tons of pictures on my computer(s) labeled “Pets” because we have that many pictures of them.

Now our household has 4 dogs running around. It’s a busy household with or without the dogs but the dogs keep it interesting. They are adorable!!

End of a chapter

20 Jun

What does one do when they end  a chapter of their life? Or rather…..how do you know that you are closing a chapter in your life…I mean without moving away, quitting a job, retirement, death, etc. Without one of those major changes, how does one even know that it is the end of that chapter?? AND what do you do when you finish the chapter?? NOW WHAT???

For personal and private reasons, I am stepping down from being a youth minister. Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE working with teens.  I call them the “misunderstood breed.”  As a mother of 3 sons with the youngest being 17, I know that ALL TEENS ARE DIFFERENT, regardless of their gender, social status, financial status, religion, or race.  Most people judge them, I look at them as if they are trying to find their pre-adult status.  Well…..the teenager talk is for anothe blog. 

Life comes with so many chapters, some shorter than others, some more intense than others, some more full of drama and some happier.  Right now I haven’t decided how to rate this chapter. I do believe that every chapter in our lives leads to the end. Every chapter somehow directly affects future chapters.  People in our lives come and go but each had a purpose.

So come this Friday, I am closing this chapter in my life.  I began getting involved with the youth group about 4 years ago.  I love interacting with them. Belonging to a military chapel community, I have seen my share of youth come and go. While this is often a sad experience, we are also fortunate enough to meet a greater number of teens.  Assuming that my health was good, my Sundays were busy because that is when we meet. 

Maybe now without all the planning meetings, the looking forward to what needs to be done, looking for and reviewing future lifenights, etc etc etc I will have time to spend with my own family, listen to them, sit with them, who knows — enjoy Sunday dinners together. Now my Sundays will be spent with my own family…..I REALLY REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO THAT!!!!

It’s bittersweet…..leaving something I love but moving forward to something I love even more.  It’s not like I didn’t spend time with my own family before, but now I won’t have to postpone time with them.

Bye-bye LifeTeen….Hello McNeil Family – again!!

Valentine’s Day dinner

15 Feb

So my family all had plans yesterday for Valentine’s Day.  I had none, so I asked my husband if he wanted to go out to dinner.  Knowing the restaurants would be packed, I decided it wasn’t late, people were still getting off work, so we went kinda early.  It was just after 6 p.m. 

We go to the first place, it was the Great American Land and Cattle. Not far from home and not usually super packed.  The entire lobby and front sidewalk were packed.  I figured it had to be a party of some sort.  There were “group-like” people…NOT Valentine’s Day type people.  As we were pulling in there were two families walking towards the front door.  A man, woman, 3 children and possibly a grandparent.  And the other was a man, a woman 3 kids ages about 3-8.  Hmm, I thought….

I sent hubby in to see how long the wait was. More than 1 hour.  Oh Wow! So we left. Afterwards, we decided to head to the standard Chili’s & Applebee’s in the neighborhood.  Applebee’s had more than an hour wait.  I saw another family walking up with Grandpa, a woman 4 kids and possibly grandma. Then a man later joined them in the wait.  Then there was a group of about 6 friends hanging out, there were 2 of those groups….all walking towards the door (Yeah, I waited in the car again while hubby went in to inquire).  At Chili’s there was an actual traffic jam in the parking lot so we didn’t even get out.  Even Denny’s had a full parking lot.  Wow!!

So ok, here is what made me grumpy….not so much the waiting period as much as the groups of people that were all going out to eat. Yeah, I know that Valentine’s Day is an overrated over spent (non) Holiday…but if you are lucky enough to have someone to share in this “Love” Day then those are the people that should be sharing it. The restaurants were packed with groups and groups, whether a bunch of friends or families. I saw very few (about 3) couples all night long.  So while I was trying to go out and have a nice romanitc dinner…and before you judge, the romance CAN be found at Chili’s or Applebee’s damn it.  As long as we can go out and enjoy each other’s company alone on a “love-holiday” then I will.  But it seems like this entire city decided that it was a holiday and they weren’t cooking and as a result I couldn’t have my romantic dinner. 

We ended up at Village Inn…the top of “Family” Restaurant central. There were children all over the place wearing hearts on the shirts, carrying heart shaped balloons, heart shaped ears, I could go on…but you get the picture.  While it was cute, I can’t deny that, it is most definitely NOT what I had in mind. 

I know that anyone is entitled to go out to eat any day of the yeat that they please, but really??? Did everyone have to go out on Valentine’s Day.  It wasn’t V-Day…It was family day with a red heart theme!!!! That’s what it was–seriously!!!

Oh well, I vented again….One of these days, I will just share a story instead of complain all about something.  But really???? family dinners on Valentine’s Day??? Maybe it was just me….