The next award is for BEST EMAIL BUDDY... and it goes to .... my sister-out-law Candice who helps the day pass more quickly... gives the best nutrition advice... lets me live vicariously through her with her fabulous life in New York City. She's been busy lately and hasn't been emailing as much and I miss her!
Next up... the award for BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT EVER... and it goes to my sister-in-law Angie and lifelong friend Mary Brown for giving me my awesome laptop which has been my connection to the outside world, game machine, tv... and has made it possible for me to blog. Runner up for best birthday present EVER goes to Jim and Angie for initial sponsorship of my Weight Watchers membership. It started me back on the road to good health and I am eternally grateful.
The award for MR TOAD'S WILD RIDE... goes to Crunch & Munch for our last lunch date... he drove on the wrong side of the road, shushed me when I tried to give directions and ignored my suggestions for the best place to park at the restaurant where we were going. It will be a long time (aka cold day in hell) before I get in the car with him again. Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, I had a good time.
My award for BEST LOCAL FOOD SOURCE goes to Loganberry Heritage Farm. Sunny Saturday mornings spent gnoshing on Nadine's yummy creations... hugs from Rose and Philip... loving the little farm kitty.... lessons from the Herb Lady... great, fresh, organic, wholesome, tasty veggies... all in an absolutely gorgeous setting... it just doesn't get any better than that, folks. http://www.loganberryheritagefarm.com/ <--- check 'em out.
The award for BEST SUPPORT GROUP goes to my Hen Party Chicks from my Wednesday night bible study. They cleaned my house, they have brought me food, furniture, new bedding, new shower curtain, new bath mats... they kept me honest, prayed for me, loved me, befriended me... My life here in the mountains would be very empty without them.
While I'm on that subject... I have to honor Helen First Baptist with the award for MOST CARING CHURCH... not only have they loved my baby girls and my brother and sister-in-law (who are on staff)... but they have loved me and my Austin far beyond what we deserve. We would never get good attendance awards... we're mostly Wednesday night attendees... but they still love us, help us out of jams, check on us, pray for us... Austin has an awesome youth pastor who is mentoring him... I have my Wednesday night Hen Party Chicks... my deacon always asks how we are and offers to help in any way he can. It's more than a church... it's a community, a family.
My next award goes to two precious little girls in my life... the award for BEST MALL BUDDIES goes to Jamie and Sarabeth Gant. These girls love to go to town... they love the escalators... they love shopping for trinkets and treasures... they love Starbucks... the merry go round... I can't imagine a trip to the mall without them.
I would be remiss if I didn't offer up an award for BEST ADOPTED NIECE... this is a tie between Stasha and Jorjann... they both never fail to light up when I come into the room... they always give me hugs... they are as much family to me as the two girls in the picture above. I'm blessed to know them, blessed to have them in my life.
The award for BEST CO-PARENT is also a tie... it goes to Charlie, who has sheltered my oldest son, guided him, helped him learn a trade, taught him to cook and eased my mind about Ryan's transition to adulthood. Charlie has done good and I love him for it. The other winner is the City of Cleveland Police Department... who, on two separate occasions have stepped in and counseled my child when he was gone astray. They've given him a reality check... forced him to surrender his cellphone when he was misusing it and generally just helped set boundaries for a child who doesn't recognize them on his own.
The BEST DAUGHTER-IN-LAW award was an easy choice this year... I know as the years go by and our family grows, I'll have more candidates for this award... however... I still have to acknowledge Marquee for her devotion to my parents, her love for her husband - my sweet son, Cody- for being a great pet parent to my grandfurbabies Sammy and Tommy, for keeping a beautiful home and for sharing her wonderful, loving family with us. We are a better family for having her in our lives and I love her dearly.
Another tie coming up... the award for MOST INSPIRATIONAL SNAIL MAIL goes to My Steel Magnolias - Grandma Leta and her sister, my Great Aunt Bette - and the Great before the word Aunt has a double meaning. Their sweet letters and cards remind me of a time when you had to be more intentional in your communication... when you didn't have the luxury of instant messages and text messages and email. They remind me of the delayed gratification of sending something... knowing your thoughts and encouragement might take awhile to arrive at its destination but with God's grace, it will arrive just in time. I love them. I also have to give the same award to my dear Mr. Drake for his sweet postcards. I love him for thinking of me and taking the time to tell me. I love him for loving a Republican/Libertarian like me despite his Democratic leanings. He is a treasure to me.
The award for BEST PHONE CALLS goes to my friend Greg - the one who prefers not to have a nickname although my temptation is to refer to him as "the Phone Guy" for our marathon phone conversations. He's brash and harsh and to the point but he's a precious soul and I appreciate the fact that he holds a mirror up before me and forces me to look at life with more honesty. He also is a treasure to me.
Holidays are always difficult for me but after this year, I have changed my perspective on Christmas. The award for BEST SCROOGE ERASER goes to my sister-in-law Angie for including me in their family Christmas celebration... and making me more than just a guest... she made me a part of things. For the first time in as long as I can remember... I looked forward to Christmas morning... i had presents to open, a stocking hung for me, I got to witness the excitement of children anticipating a visit from Santa... and I got to play Santa for the first time in many years. I realized that Christmas doesn't have to be a lonely time for single - almost empty nesters. It was a huge blessing to me.
The award for BEST EXTENDED FAMILY member goes to my Cousin Melissa. She's a bit eccentric but she's sweet, loving, devoted, funny... she helps me know more about my family and she writes the BEST emails.
My BEST MOTHER HEN award goes to Linda, a blog reader from Virginia who has adopted me. She gives advice in a kind but loving way. She really cares... and I appreciate her more than she knows.
BEST REASON TO BLOG goes to Patty in California who shared her story of meeting her soulmate and love of her life... after being encouraged and inspired by ME, of all people! Can you imagine? Someone like me... who can't seem to get a relationship right... encourages someone to go forward in a relationship that she might otherwise have missed. I love Patty, I appreciate her story and I'm so grateful that she has made me - and my blog - a part of her life.
BEST THELMA to my LOUISE goes to my friend Jen in California. She has stood up for herself this past year... made difficult, heart breaking changes in her life and has had courage that few women are able to find. She has drawn closer to the Lord and found strength through her local church. I'm so proud of her that I could just BURST!
MOST COURAGE IN THE FACE OF FEAR goes to Linda... she's battling breast cancer... http://adirondackcountrygal.blogspot.com/ <--- this is her main blog and she has another about her battle with breast cancer - I can't find the link to it. But she has been SOOOO strong and so upbeat about a very scary diagnosis. Linda, I'm praying... and I know that God has a plan for you. I can't wait to watch it.
BEST MINISTRY goes to the Catalyst Christian Learning Center ... where Austin goes for one class period a day... off campus... for bible based instruction, encouragement and fellowship. It is changing his life and therefore changing mine. I'm so proud of my friend Natalie and her leadership of this amazing ministry. Here's a link to an article in the Christian Index from a few years ago... http://www.christianindex.org/4111.article about the learning center.
BEST FITNESS INSPIRATION goes to my friend Melissa at http://melissahuray.blogspot.com/ ... she is an amazing lady who battled her way back from alcoholism... met and married her soulmate... lost a lot of weight in a very healthy way... and has maintained a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. She is a beautiful lady and I'm so proud to call her my friend.
BEST DISAPPEARING ACT goes to The Next Guy... who went from "you'll never be alone again" to ... nothing... in a very, very short time. I guess I'll never know what happened with him... and I guess, in the big picture, it doesn't really matter... but he was the first in a series of guys who made me realize that I'm not ready for the dating game.... and not long after him came... a guy who I don't think even got a nickname, he was here and gone so quickly... he gets an honorable mention for his "there was no magic for me" text after one brief encounter. He sealed the deal for me... no more online dating for this girl. EVER. It made me realize how true the statement "I'm single by choice... they're single for a reason"... really is.
The award for BEST AUNT EVER (besides me) goes to sweet Mandy Cody... "Aunt Mimi".. my sister in law Angie's little sister... who is as much as sister to ME, that I forget that we're not really related... and the only person on earth who understands my deep love and devotion to Sarabeth and Jamie. We are forever bonded by our mutual love for these girls... and I take great comfort in knowing that whatever shortcomings I may have as an aunt are compensated for by their wonderful Aunt Mimi. Also winning this award is my Aunt Ginger who taught me what an aunt should be... she always had dolls for me to play with... let me spend the night with her... gave me so much quality time and was a very present part of my life growing up. I grieve for the nieces and nephews that I'm not able to see because I know that I could enrich their lives in the same way Aunt Ginger did mine... but I'm grateful for the opportunity to love Sarabeth and Jamie (and Stasha and Jorjann) and be a part of their lives.
Well... time is fleeting... there are another dozen awards I could give... and I might just come back later and do so... but now I have to shower and get ready for church. I was glad when they said unto me... let us go into the house of the Lord. I'm gonna sneak into the crying room after the service starts... but I'll still get to see everyone after church, especially my baby girls. Thanks for reading my blog, y'all... I love you all, even the mean ones... because you give me an outlet for the things I rarely get to say in real life... have a great Sunday!