Friday, November 28, 2008

Wow, we have fun at the office....

today Cliff and I have been communicating with each other by singing our words, to the tune of Christmas carols. Cliff has a great opera-meets-Elvis vocal style. And i am working on my yodeling. yeah, ...thankfully Jeff, the guy that rents space right next door, is not in today. (only the strong work on the biggest shopping day of the year) We maintain a healthy level of insanity around here most of the time, but tone it down when the more "normal" (boring) members of society are close by. We don't want to scare anyone.
Two of a kind we are, me and my man.

Thanksgiving with the Hiltons

The day started with pumpkin pie assembly and creation at 8:30am. coffee, lots of animated whispering (my roommates were still asleep), and teamwork were the name of the game. Cliff and I whipped up some fabulous pumpkin pecan goodness, with maple accents--quite a treat for any willing tastebuds,....although it didn't hold a candle to the Kelley CHEESECAKE that we encountered later that afternoon.

The Turkey Bowl was a success! There were, like, thirty people that came out, STALE and FRESH alike. This annual football game reached a new level as old neighbors, friends, and all the extended family came out. (I would like to note that even though Cliff was on the STALE team, he isn't really old. And he was the MVP of his team, without a doubt. ...the discerning eye would have caught me looking at him more than the ball-although the percentages are close since Cliff had the football a lot of the time :) The competition was intense and the game was longer than any in years before; the teams were tied until the second overtime when the youngest Hilton Matthew had his record-book moment of glory by tackling Cliff, quarterback still in possession of the ball, to the ground on the 4th down solidifying a win for the FRESH team!
And, in honor of Scott, there was at least one player puking on the sidelines during the game!
Like I said, intense. And one of the funnest traditions I have ever been a part of! Next year my goal is to actually touch the ball!

Thanksgiving dinner at Denise's was wonderful. Everyone was there--even the birthday boy, Walter Scott, dwelling in sweet memories and beautiful tributes paid by, among many, Billy before and during his prayer, and Zackary who is a miniature Scott when he laughs, squinting his dark little eyes til they are almost shut, giving a sideways, chin-down smirk while making an absolute mess at meal time.
It was so pleasant to make relaxing conversation with everyone and play with any number of kiddos running around. There was such a positive aire around the place! i joined in the LOUD HAPPY BIRTHDAY SINGING, a signature feature of Cliff's family, as Denise blew out her turkey-cake's candles. At one point, I heard all about minced meat pie from Grandma and noted the love and special hang-out time that happens between Kathy and her sisters as I sat at the table with them while they talked about past holiday memories. I managed to sample a little from every dish that was brought, even the oyster stuffing, and enjoyed two plates of food (did you expect any less from me?). The food was excellent. And I am going to be calling DJ Kelley around my birthday time and requesting one of his cheesecakes.

Cliff and I spent some good time together during the day, reclining after dinner on the couch in the den, looking at pictures and playing cars with Zackary, patting on Denise and Billy's old-woman dog, Nala (she has a gray face). The drawing of names for Christmas gitfts took place, by generation...and I am so excited to buy a gift for the family member whose name i drew! (i was kinda scared that i would get someone i didn't know too well.) Then Old Man Hilton (Jimmy) tried to trick me into telling whose name I drew (a big NO-NO) but I caught on quick and responded with a clever answer, the way I have always passed the Old Man's tests-ever since the days of 20 questions each time he saw me for the first month that Cliff and I were dating. If my memory serves me correctly, I recall even firing a few back at him and impressing the whole crew. (I am obviously the perfect gal for Cliff.)

Everyone was diggin' on the brown rice dish i brought. Thank you Sherry Sue (and Mom-mal) for introducing me to this dynqmite recipe, a winner every time as a companion to meat and vegetables! I bet I revealed the recipe 8 times to different members of Cliff's mom's family-and I felt even more special each time. There's nothing the makes you feel accepted at another's family function like when the dish you bring is a hit! I'm in, ladies and gentlemen!

I am so very thankful to know Cliff and his family. It has been such an honor and neat experience getting to know them and adopting them as my own. I've never dating a guy who has a family like this (to be expected, i guess, with the caliber of man Cliff is....he was rasied by outstanding folks and has become one of them. wow, i am lucky.) Something beautiful has happened to my heart as I've spent time with this new group of people,.. it's gotten bigger and room has been made for the relationships that are growing. I've experienced true care for the people I've met via Cliff, via Thanksgiving and all the birthdays and gatherings before this; I just really think special things about each and every member of the family I have met. I didn't know it would be this great.

Out on the porch, near the end of the Thanksgiving extravaganza, DJ, Matt, Kasi, Cliff and I had some very great and real conversations. Kasi was so cute with energy to kind of swing her feet like a ballerina as she talked about the specialness of this family we three (she, DJ, and me) have found ourselves in. Her heart is beautiful. And I am excited for them to have their next baby! DJ said such caring things to Cliff as he opened up about how he's been doing. I appreciated DJ's kindness-I really saw it-as they talked like brothers beside me. There was special bonding time going on as Matt and Cliff waxed poetic,...and I sat and cherished it all, chiming in when called for, but mainly just smiling thankfully, my heart big and feeling a lot of good things.

When we said goodbye it was sad. I really wished the time together could go on because it was so warm and peaceful there with all the family. There will be more times together, though, I feel certain. The Hilton clan knows how to give good hugs! Cliff and I collected them and extended a few, then headed toward the door, but not before we gave "bumps" to little Sammie Dee.

Cheery was our drive over to Jim and Kathy's to tuck Zack in and look at some more pictures (also an incredibly funny video the kids made Jim and Kathy for Christmas one year!).
Then, to end this beautiful Thanksgiving, my best friend and I reflected on the day's answered prayers as we sat in the drive out front of my house:
Peace completely dominated the events of the day. God's sovereignty and care were shown (from the comment Kathy made the "God's taking care of us" to the abundance of all good things, food included, that we received throughout the day). A spirit of thankfulness was truly over everyone I encountered today. And such a positive holiday experience with Cliff's family serves only to move us forward in what is clearly God's path for us...building a life together.

I am very excited to spend the next holiday with these great people, each and every one of whom i care much about and want to make my own memories and traditions with----and i am eager for the Cliff to have this same phenomenon happen as we spend time with my family.

It is incredible to have a special someone for the holidays this year. We prayed together in the car last night before Cliff dropped me off, thanking God for responding to all these things that we prayed for that morning, in between taking the pies in and out of the oven. We noted that we want to start and close more days like this.
We serve a truly great and awesome God who takes so much joy in giving us the gifts He does and making us feel the joy of having Him beside us all the time. The gift of Jesus makes that communion with our God possible, thru the abolishing of our sins on the cross. Wow, think that we are righteous and pure and soooo desireable in the eyes of the God of the universe.... I'm pumped to celebrate the Gospel story in full as Cliff and I celebrate the birth of Jesus this year with out families; it's changed my life to truly believe the Gospel and it's changed my life to grow with Cliff in faith and our understanding of God's unending love for us. What an awesome life. And what fun to come as we just kicked off the beginning of Hilton/Sartaine Holidays!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Answer to prayer

this morning ashley and I prayed over the day, this thanksgiving day. we prayed for peace and rest in our own lives, our thoughts and in our relationsips with one another and with our families. we prayed for god to show himself in our families eyes and to give us clear minds for any circumstances in our day. He did! All this happened. More details tomorrow. Going to bed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My fight this week

Well, this week is one week of the year that from now on be different. My brother, Scott, died in July. And his brithday is always around Thanksgiving. Nov. 27, actually on Thanksgiving this year. My mom's is today, the 25th and my dad's is Saturday, the 29th. So, this week is bigger than Christmas as far as family time goes. So, needless to say, I am struggling. Lately because of this relationship with Ashley I have been able to open up and share what I am feeling. But this is so new and so tough, i want to hide, sleep lot and like ya do, separate from everything and everyone. So, I confess I have done this. Another note for those who read this and don't know my family that well, Scott's son, Zack, who lives in Columbus, OH, is in town for the week. We spent some great time together Sunday. It was great. We played on his Thomas train, full size, yeah its awesome, we fixed the apparently broken wheels a few times and kept going in circles. Then we played gun tag, I got bored but Zack did not. So I kept going. He, in the midst of this gun fight, multiple time refered to me a "daddy". I don't know if its a kid thing, it just slipped or if he is really confused and at times thinks I am Scott. This has really been tough these past few days to recall. I love him so much and miss Scott a lot, so you can imagine the feelings going thru my head then. So, it kinda put me in the spot I mentioned eariler in this post. I had to release these feelings somehow, so I took my time outside and talked with God. It was good, but something is still stuck in me.

But I want to talk about last night. I had some time by myself at my apt. It was good, watched some football, sat around thinking about my life, and sat in a one candle dark apartment for hours. I started to read the bible. Hook, line and sinker, thats what I needed. God using his power turned open scripture. I read Lamentations, and some Psalms. I had been doubting God in my life. I had been getting caught up in emotion and feelings. Which is human yes, but if I can truly be at a place to trust God's plan, then all those feelings go away and I am happy, joyful and loving life. I read Psalm 16. "What a wonderful inheritance." v6. He will show me the way of life and show me joy. "But Lord, you remain the same forever!" Lam 5:19. and v21 "Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!" Awesome stuff. He will be here no matter what we are going thru.

I am dealing with Scott, mourning this week to come. I have confirmation that this is okay, but as a follower of Christ I can depend on God. Swoop me out of this pain and self destruction to celebrate life, of those around me, my family, and Zack.