PSALM 104:34

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weird Christmas :)

Weird Christmas, that's all that can be said.  1.  We were in Indiana.  Enough said.   2.  It was warm outside, warm enough that I didn't even need a jacket, no snow,  not even a cool breeze!  3.  Allen was VERY sick.

Christmas was weird, but wonderful in its own special way.

First, Christmas started on Christmas Eve when Josh and Annabeth (our niece and nephew in Arkansas woke up and Skyped with us to open their presents.  For them, Santa came on Christmas Eve, Eve.  (Sorry David ;)  It was really fun and they were really excited about their Arkansas Razorback stuff, make-up vanity, and Angry Birds gear.  We can't wait to really be with them next week!

On Christmas Day:

 Allen was sick with the stomach flu from Tuesday through Christmas and after waking up at 7:30 to open presents with my family in Arkansas over Skype,  Allen dragged his sick self to church and sat in the very back corner pew in case of emergencies.  Ironically, the pastor's 8 year old daughter soon joined us.  Apparently the stomach flu is rampant around here right now. We were the sick Christmas church circle.  Merry Christmas...blagh!  ;)  After the service we were thinking of just going home to wallow in Allen's sick misery, but Jackie and Len McDonald had invited us to their Christmas celebration and didn't care if we came sick because Calvin already had the same thing.

While everyone else enjoyed lasagna and alfredo, these two nibbled crackers and sipped Sprite.  It look very pretty and Christmas-y though, right?
Darrel, Len, and Ollie read the Christmas story, reminding us of the reason for the season.  I think this is the sweetest picture of three generations of family love.

Next came the wild child excitement of opening gifts.  These children are not related to us in any way besides love.  Their families have "love adopted" us as their own, and we love these kids like real nieces an nephews.  We were just so glad to watch any kids enjoy the crazy excitement of Christmas day gift opening.  

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day."  -Andy Rooney

These kids also made for me one of my favorite gifts so far this Christmas:

Mine is the purple cow.  Caitlin's was an angel.  Are they not adorable???   Pepsi even loved it.  She thinks its a dog toy because of the bell. ;)

After leaving the excitement and love of the McDonald family Christmas, Allen and I headed home to relax for a while.  We called our families and enjoyed talking with each of them.  My family was at my Gramma Lynch's house in Berryville and there was much creativity going on.  They made their own rendition of "Deck The Halls."  You HAVE to check it out on my Facebook page.  Its HILARIOUS!!!  David, Cheryll, Ben, Nate, and Grampa all participate!  I love it!

Allen also participated in a rendition of Jingle Bells which is now memorialized on YouTube: 

The night ended with a trip to Caitlin and Darrel McDonald's house.  We exchanged gifts, drank cocoa, Caitlin was awarded her "Chili badge" for a chili rating #1 in Allen's book, and we watched Mickey Christmas cartoons on YouTube.  Obviously, Allen was feeling better at this point to try Caitlin's chili.  It really is a great achievement to make something rating a 10 with him.  He'll eat anything, but he gives out high complements sparingly.  And she told me she couldn't cook 2 years ago.  Silly girl.

Today, Allen is feeling much better.  We still have Christmas in Arkansas later this week.  We are just celebrating a little late because that's when we get to do it. :)

Merry "weird" Christmas everybody.  It was awesome!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Away in a Manger

Today Allen and I were driving around, doing some last minute Christmas shopping, but really just taking it slow and enjoying each other.  You may not believe that we were really taking it slow 2 days before Christmas, but its true.  We really went to "Little" Nashville, parked the car, and just walked through the shops, taking in the sights and enjoying ourselves.  One of the first things I saw after getting out of the car was this beautiful manger scene.  I have no idea how old it is, but its a little banged up, so I'm assuming its been around through at least a few Christmas's.  I thought it was quite beautiful.  And right then and there, Allen and I decided that this would be our goal of the day.  We were looking for Nativity scenes among the quaint shops of Nashville.

It was a beautiful reminder of the reason that anyone ever even began to celebrate Christmas.  It is the celebration of our Lord, Jesus' birth.  No wonder, to us it seems joyous and happy.  All of Heaven must join in our celebration.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Memories and Presents

As a matter of principle, Christmas really must include Christmas movies.  Charlie Brown, Rudolph, The original Grinch, the list goes on and on...but White Christmas is something special.  There is something so nostalgic about the 1950's movie with its dresses, and its songs, the train...

I love it! Quintessential Christmas.

But, my favorite part of the movie really has nothing to do with Christmas.  It is the song that is sung a couple of times, both by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen as well as by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye: The Sisters Song.  Its silly, but I love it because I can remember singing and dancing to it so many times with my own sisters.  

My gorgeous ballerina


my beautiful sweet baby whose favorite color was the same as mine and favorite animal was a snake.

Isn't it funny, and kind of sad, how we enjoy, but don't really appreciate the time that we have with the people that we love?  I babysat a family of 6 kids a couple of nights ago.  The oldest three are boys and the youngest are girls.  I was there for about 7 hours and the whole time, I couldn't help but keep thinking how recent it was that I was at home hanging out with my 5 younger siblings.

Christmas really always was a huge deal at our house.  We were excited for a month, eating cookies, pumpkin bread and fudge and decorating.  The house would be beautiful with a snow village, lights, and of course our Christmas tree...decorated from the middle up with mom's old glass ornaments and from the middle down with our childish handcrafted additions.  But, there were NEVER any presents under the tree...I never remember literally believe that a man named Santa came down our chimney and delivered the gifts.  But, we new that on Christmas Eve there was not a thing under our tree, not a scrap.  Our annual trip to church for a candle lit service was delicately exquisite, then our annual drive to look at lights in our pajamas usually included at least a little bickering, but mostly awe and amazement.  Coming home, excitement built and no one wanted to go to bed, but to bed we must go, because Christmas couldn't come till the morning.  My mother has since revealed the amount of work she put in every Christmas Eve.  Most of the presents were never wrapped until then, and even if we each only got three, that is three times six, thirty-six presents to wrap!  She also always made sure to stuff our stockings with essentials.  Candy, socks, make-up, whatever little thing would make us happy.    In the morning, Anna and I knew we were not allowed to leave our room till 6 AM, we just didn't know that it was because our poor mother had been up till 3.  Still, we snuck out and peaked at the tree!  Beauty at its finest!  Presents were heaped (36 makes a lot of heaping) and stockings were waiting.  We would usually wake up around 4:30 or 5 and entertain ourselves excitedly until 6 on the dot.  Then we would fly through the house waking the boys and Rache and running to mom and dad's room at the other end of the house.  There was always an excited cuddle involved with 8 people in their full sized bed and excited requests for them to PLEASE get up and start Christmas!

I really don't remember a lot of specific gifts that I got during my early Christmas years.  But I do distinctly remember the excitement and the love.  We loved Christmas.

So, if every story has to have a moral, I suppose this one's is to enjoy what you have when you have it.  Someday I believe I will look back on my life as it is right now with the same fondness and sadness at its passing.  I have beautiful friends and an easy, happy life...I am thankful at this Christmas season.  Thankful for my memories and thankful for the the present.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

December music

I have been a little sad today because Allen and I are having a difficult time working out our schedules to go home.  We're both homesick and desperately want to see our families for the most beautiful and wonderful time of the year.  But, I started listening to the music of Christmas fills my heart with joy and contentment.

When we were little, my mom still had an original record player.  We began decorating and listening the weekend after Thanksgiving and enjoyed the beautiful songs in their scratchy originality until at least a week post December.  Anna and I would lock ourselves in our parents room for hours creating the most beautiful and elaborate decorations for the Christmas gifts we bought everyone with the "love bucks" we earned for learning memory verses at church.  

This song reminds me of my dad, who loves it and listened to it with me.

And of course, we all adored the movie White Christmas and watched with rapt attention as Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye charmed the ladies with songs about snow.

It wouldn't be possible to miss the wonderful memories that I have if I had never experienced them.  So even though it sometimes makes me sad and homesick, I'm glad that I had a beautiful childhood filled with songs and love at Christmas time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

First Christmas Post

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum. 

-One of my favorite Christmas Carols, The Little Drummer Boy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ponderings of a lone, first time turkey chef...

Allen got off work at 4:00 on Thanksgiving and I planned to have a special turkey dinner around 5'ish

So....I planned to start my attack at 2:00.  But, when I looked in the fridge, this is what I found.

Seriously!  I put the silly thing in the fridge on Monday night!  Tuesday night I was worried that it wasn't de-thawing, so I put it in a bowl of water...and at 1:45PM on Thanksgiving, that water had a layer of ice!  "Whose refrigerator freezes water?  And why am I learning this on Thanksgiving?"

Next there was a frantic call to the woman who has made most of the turkeys I have previously eaten: "Gramma, I've got a problem.  My turkey is still half frozen and its time for it to be in the oven."

She assured me that it would be ok and that I might just have to cook it a little longer.  "Just check the temperature and go by that."

Ok, onward and upward...peeling the ice and wrapper off the bird revealed a new puzzle.

"What in the world is that?!" and "What in the WORLD do I do with it!?!?"

Oh, Sidenote:
Around noon I took rolls out of the freezer and placed them in a baking pan to thaw and rise.

Looks yummy right?  So, I'm really kitchen savvy and knew that placing these rolls in a warm place would make them rise and become nice and fluffy....and what place is warmer than the oven?   Oh yes, I was smart and put them in the oven.  However, when I turned the oven on to preheat it for turkey...I didn't take the half-risen rolls out.  Fail numero uno.  Half-risen rolls, half baked...means start over on the rolls...

Back to the turkey.  
I'm considering what should be done about the complex wiring around the feet and tail end section of the bird.  Will it melt?  Don't I have to remove some stuff?  Where is the stuff and why did they tie it up so tightly????

I messed around with the turkey's tetherings and opened up the hole where I presumed the extraneous nonessentials were located.  Inside was what appeared to be the (half frozen) intestines.  Yuck.  However, no heart, liver, kidneys, things I was expecting to find.  Oh, no, those were located in the front tucked under the neck.  Why?  Who knows?  

Second to Gramma:
"What do I do with all these plastic ties around the legs, will it melt?"
She assured me it was Ok to leave the plastic in place and also coached me on salt, pepper, butter, those types of things.

By this time it was almost 2:30 and the turkey was not even near the oven. The good thing about the delay was that it was helping the thawing problem.
Next: the butter injection that Allen specifically requested.

This is Tony's injectable butter.  Its DELICIOUS.  Highly recommended and very fun.  I felt like a nurse.  It was probably the most fun and exciting thing I did all day.  You just fill up the syringe, insert, and plump that turkey up with all the buttery goodness it can hold.
Finally at 2:45 the poor, violated, mostly thawed, injected bird, went in the oven.  The pan advertised that the ridges in its bottom would act as a built in tray.  My thoughts:  "Built in tray, my foot!"  It immediately smashed as soon as I put the heavy turkey in it...but it was in the oven and on its way to juicy perfection.

This is everything I cut/dug out of the carcass.  Blech and what a waste...couldn't that take this stuff and use it for dog food or something?  
Pepsi thinks that would be a wonderful idea.  She sat on my foot during the entire turkey preparation.

While I waited on the turkey and on Allen, I made a chocolate pie.  I was going to resist the urge this year.  I bought a pumpkin and didn't think we could possibly need two between only the two of us...but I talked to both Anna and my mom and they were making pies.  I love making pies and wanted my own Thanksgiving pie experience.  So, after checking my possible ingredients list, chocolate pie it was:

It turned out yummy.

We also had green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and of course, the second batch of rolls.

The turkey turned out tasting good and dinner was a success.  Next year, I really hope we get to be home with our families, but I'm definitely getting pretty independent on this whole cooking long as Gramma is on speed dial ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Allen got started researching our family trees a little over a week ago.  He's using which allows him (and me) to search census records, birth and death certificates, and marriage licenses, among many other documents.  It is exciting putting the pieces of the puzzle together, and if we are correct, we can trace parts of our tree back to ships coming from Ireland, England, and the Netherlands.  It becomes rather mind-boggling how quickly a tree branches and includes hundreds of ancestors within several generations.  

....Hubert S. Sullivan & Ruth Agnes Street; Joseph Floyd Doss & Emma Lou Patton; Alfred Y. Martindale & Katherine O. Strozier; Isaac Therman Lynch & Gladys Potts; Richard B. Richardson & Rena Gertrude Lassiter; Thomas J. Keefe & Grace Genevieve Healy; Alvie Dee Moore & Madie Ellen Pollard; Charles T. Friddle & Mabel Thomelson...

A list of names.  Some I remember, some I never met.  All now passed on to a different place, but all contributed to the life that Allen and I call our own.  These are our great-grandparents, and we are their legacy.

Recently, a loved member of the Lynch family suddenly left this life and made the journey to Heaven.  Susan Lynch's death, along with our research into ancestry reminded me of what an impact great grandparents, grandparents, and parents have on their children.  My second cousin, and Susan's nephew wrote the following to our family.

To All of My Family, 

I've always known all of this, but it's all even more prominent right now, so I am seizing an opportunity. I just want to say how lucky I feel to have the family I have. I've noticed there isn't a single post by one of my aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, great aunts, moms, dad, or siblings on Facebook without someone outside of the family commenting something about how close and loving our family is, how special we are, or how much they love us. 

Besides the comforting aspect of knowing we all have friends, families of our significant other, etc that care so much about each of us individually, it makes me so proud of our family to see people comment on how special we are. I know it makes papa smile down on us and now aunt Susan too. This is the foundation nannie and papa built. Actually, it is deeper than's my great grandparents Lynch and Hadley, who I never even knew, that started the foundation and we have constructed a strong building on that foundation. I don't mean to sound conceited about who we are, but I feel like there is something so extraordinarily special about our family that unfortunately most people are only able to dream of having. I am so thankful for that. I am also so thankful each of you are in my life and that I am able to proudly call you family. 

I love each of you more than I can ever express. And even though we may not see each other as often as we should, I hope you all know that. And always know, as well as I do, that we each have a family that always has been and always will be there for one another. It is something that just makes my heart overfilled with joy. 

I realize how sappy this letter may seem to some of you, but it is the honest truth coming straight from my heart. 
This has all been in my heart for a long time, and right now its so much of an overwhelming feeling that I wanted to make sure to say it to everyone.

Isn't it so awesome to know that you have a group of people in your corner no matter what.... and a group of people that love you for who you are no matter what?? 


I can barely read it without tears coming to my eyes...I know 
its true. And the thing is, Jeremy was talking about the Lynch family, but I have a legacy and foundation from the Doss and Lynch family...and Allen has a legacy from the Sullivan and Martindale family. So, this Thanksgiving, even though we are much further than we wish to be from our beloved families, I thank the Lord for a legacy of laughter, cooking, fun and games, and song. But most of all I am thankful that mine and Allen's families are Christians and have given us a strong foundation of love for Jesus Christ, our Lord. The only question that remains is whether we will carry this beautiful tradition of love and prayer forward. Will our great-grandchildren remember us lovingly with appreciation for our prayers and support? 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;

In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,

My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove

My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,

I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Dad (Jeff), Ben, Mary Catherine, Anna, John Isaac, & Mom (Anita) at Gramma Lynch's house in Berryville, Arkansas

Doss cousins (starting top left): Ben, Isaac, John Isaac, Lilly, Mary Catherine,  Eden, Robin, Anna, Nathan, Cassie, Jeff, and Clare

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Thoughts

"A tingling, misty marvel 

  Blew hither in the night, 
And now the little peach-trees 
  Are clasped in frozen light. 

Upon the apple-branches 

  An icy film is caught, 
With trailing threads of gossamer 
  In pearly patterns wrought. 

The autumn sun, in wonder, 

  Is gayly peering through 
This silver-tissued network 
  Across the frosty blue. 

The weather-vane is fire-tipped, 

  The honeysuckle shows 
A dazzling icy splendor, 
  And crystal is the rose." 
-   Evaleen Stein, November Morning

Friday, November 4, 2011

All in a weekend

The story of last weekend starts about a month ago when Allen's sister "blew-up" their car.  I was explaining this to a friend the other day and they asked what this "blowing-up" exactly means.  I suppose I have been married to a mechanic's son for too long now and take it for granted that most people understand car mechanic lingo.  Seriously, we were driving down the hi-way the other day, saw a car stranded on the side of the road and Allen remarked that the drive shaft had fallen out and that car wasn't going anywhere...who knows these things?  Anyway, I've picked up bits and pieces over the years.

With the car that "blew-up"... basically, the car's engine got too hot, ran out of water, or oil, or something and the engine quit working.  Apparently, if you drive a car too long this way a rod can shoot out of the engine and through your hood.  I've never witnessed this, but have been told it is possible.  Its supposed to be pretty dramatic and I think it would be exciting, of course not on your own car....

So, the blown-up car was no use to the Jones family and they decided to go ahead and buy a new car altogether.  Everyone in the family immediately considered what should be done with the blown-up car and thought of the poor college students up in Indiana whose own car was about to "blow-up" or something worse. ;)  So, my father-in-law, the awesome mechanic, went to a junk yard, pulled a good engine out of another car, and put the two pieces together and voila!  A car for Mary and Allen.  Its an awesome car too!  Leather seats, heated leather seats, heat that actually blows out of the vents when you turn it on!!!  Amazing!

So, Terry brought this little gem up to us a couple of weekends ago.  We were tickled pink and we've been totally enjoying it.

Skip to last weekend (the weekend of Halloween)...

We have these wonderful friends, the McDonalds, up here in Indiana.  Basically, they are considered our family.  They've adopted us, we've adopted them, we're all happy.  So, two of these McDonalds are named Ayvah (age 7) and Calvin (age 5).  They each had a birthday in October and to celebrate, their mother hosted a dress-up birthday party on the 29th.  The rules were that everyone had to dress up in a home made costume as an animal....Allen and I were quite excited and made our costumes eagerly awaiting fun and games at the McDonald's house.

 I am a bluebird and Allen is a dog.  I originally meant just for Allen to be a cute puppy with floppy ears, but I found a chain to go around his neck and when I sewed the ears on his hat it ended up looking really punk. :)  So, he became the "rapper dog" - yo, yo, yo!

The birthday party started at noon and we were already running about 20 minutes late, sitting at a stop sign on Curry Pike, halfway between our house and the McDonalds...when BAM!!!  We heard two cars slam into each other...then about 1 second and BAM!  The second car clipped the left side of our brand new bumper. :(  (Well, not really brand new, our previously "blown up" but brand new to us bumper) 

So, the important point to this story is that  I had SEWED my wings to my shirt.  They weren't just something I could slip off...I was in costume for the long haul.  So, there I was standing on the side of the road, wings, boa feathers, and all waiting for the police.  I'm pretty sure the cop that took pictures of the wreck got me in a couple.  So, somewhere in the police database I will now be forever remembered as the girl in blue. Luckily, Allen's costume was not sewed on.  He removed his hat and ears, his neck chain, and after a reminder from me, his tail that had been tied to his belt loop (which we lost amid the slight chaos).

We were way-layed at the wreck site for about an hour and 15 minutes and missed the beginning of the party.   But, no one was seriously injured, just sore...the wreck was deemed the first drivers fault, and eventually we were on our way.  

At the party we met the rest of Noah's ark:
A bumble bee, leopard, butterfly, skunk, duck, kangaroo, panda, ladybug, elephant, monkey, another bumble bee, and Batman!  
It was quite a party.

The kids of course had a ball hitting pinatas, and searching through piles of leaves for stuffed animals. 

 But I think the big boys may have had just as much fun:

In the end, despite being sore and slight damage to our car, the day was awesome.

And the next day was just as good.  We participated in "Trunk or Treat" at our church and decided to dress our car up as the whale from Jonah and the Whale.  Our friend, Craig, agreed to play Jonah, and we attached magnets to paper fish so the kids could "fish" out of the whale's mouth.  It was another fun filled day of candy, kids, and friends.

The whale was a hit and the kids were amazed that you could catch paper fish with just string and paper clips. 

You can also see that our nice "new" car really wasn't damaged terribly in the fender-bender. Its scratched up a little and the tail light covers are broken, but it could have been much worse.  

All in all, it was a great Halloween weekend, one for the books.  We are thankful for our friends that love us and great fun that we will remember for a long time!

Mr. Skunk and the D. O. G....Yo! yo! yo!