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MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE RANCH…2011

Greetings Our Precious Family and Friends!!!

Wow, this year has flown by and while so much has changed in our lives since 2010, we remain very much the same. This year Richard and I spent time celebrating life events with our family which included birthdays, weddings, graduations, Tae Kwon Do, and basketball.  In May family and friends joined us for the 5th Annual Smith Family Reunion which was filled with lots of food, fun, laughter, and lots of MEMORIES!!! Our lives are so enriched by the moments we have with those we love.

Then in October, heaven gained an Angel and we lost our Nana (Richard’s mother). This Christmas will be especially hard for us as Christmas was Nana’s favorite holiday and Christmas Eve will not be the same without her. 

It was also in October we moved to the “Ranch”.  We sold our home and moved into our 38 foot motorhome…Talk about a huge task!!! All our belongings which were in our 3,100 SF home are now housed in 3 different storage buildings and have no clue where to find anything!!! 

I am sure about now you are probably thinking we have lost our minds…I assure you we have not!!! We will be building a home on our daughter and son-in-law’s ranch right across from our precious granddaughter!!! Wooohooo…talk about making some incredible memories…In-fact we have already started!!! A huge thanks to our son-in-law, Robi for getting a place for the RV set-up while we were busy moving…We would not have made it without his help!!!

Since moving into the RV, we’ve added a deck, put up a fence, made time for play breaks, and even taken a trip to New Mexico for Thanksgiving where we spent quality time with Brandi and Robi in Taos before driving to Albuquerque for time with Uncle Russell, Aunt Karen, and Richard’s cousins…Making Those Memories!!!

Richard continues to work for BASF as a process technician and for Alston Group LLC as a technical writer. Lee Ann celebrated her 10th Anniversary at Angleton Danbury Medical Center and continues to focus on the Revenue Cycle and Case Management. We both are keenly aware of how blessed we are to have such wonderful employers and incredible co-workers.  

While life is very simple now…It is a great life!!!

We pray during this Holiday Season God will surround you with His peace and you will take time to bask in His presence throughout the entire year…

Merry Christmas and Lots of Love

Beneath His Sheltering Wing…

 Love,

Richard and Lee Ann ♥

 

Christmas with Brandi, Robi, and Grandkids 2010

Celebrating Christmas with our youngest daughter and her family is the highlight of the holiday season for us. This year due to congested schedules we decided to celebrate early. So, I had to kick into turbo…no waiting till the last-minute to wrap the gifts and prepare a meal.

The menu was easy to decide on because everyone loves Papa’s smoked ribs. Sides were a salad, baked potatoes and homemade hot and buttery beer bread. Ummm Ummm delicious! Dessert was Christmas candies, cookies, cupcakes and brownies.

Immediately following dinner Cheyenne, our granddaughter asked if she could help clear the table. I knew her goal was to get to those gifts tucked  away under the tree. So, you can imagine her delight when I told her the dishes could wait.

We migrated to the living room where everyone was a buzz about the “Big Gift” in the corner. Because other gifts were associated with the “Big Gift” it had to be opened first…As you can imagine everyone was excited to hear that because they all had been trying to guess what it was for over a week…Needless to say it only took a few seconds to rip the wrapper off…They were elated but not to the degree of my delight!

I DID IT!!! For the first time ever I stumped Brandi…Every year right before she would open her “Big Gift” from me she would guess what it was but not this year!!! She had no clue and was sooo surprised!

Once the “Big Gift” was opened everyone migrated to “their spot”. All the gifts were handed out and in keeping with tradition the kids wanted to go one at a time opening their gifts so everyone could see what the other was getting. I love this as I remember growing up it was a free for all and Christmas gifts were unwrapped in 10 minutes or less…

Not with these kids… it took about an hour to open gifts making Christmas last a long time! The comments, laughter and hugs in between gifts was priceless!!!

The gifts I received were precious!!! The first I opened was a beautiful coffee mug from Cheyenne. The quote on the cup reads “Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come. Song of Songs 2:12a. Chey knows I love coffee and I love drinking it from special cups. I have a new “Special Cup” now! Next, a gift from Michael. It was a beautiful necklace. The front is the shape of a key hole and it is surrounded by bling. The back reads “Share the Love”. It is absolutely beautiful. Then I was handed an envelope which read “To Mom and Dad”….A gift card to Outback! Yeah!!! One of our most favorite places to eat!!! Next, foot care products with an inflatable foot bath…Love it!!! Then I was handed a large bag. In it was the purse I wanted. Brandi pulled it off she managed to buy the purse I wanted when shopping a couple of weeks ago. And she bought it while I was with her!!!

I loved the gifts and all the thought that went into finding the perfect one for me and speaking of perfect gifts, it was a little scroll of paper tied in a pretty ribbon and addressed to both Richard and me. When I unrolled it, it read “Merry Christmas! Mission Offering Donation made in the name of Richard and Lee Ann Smith” and the amount. Now this gift brought tears to my eyes. Anyone who knows me, knows sharing the love of Jesus is my passion and Missions is the most perfect venue to do just that.

I love every moment I get to spend with my kids and grandkids! I love their hugs, smiles, thoughts, and comments! I love watching them interact with each other as it is obvious they love each other very much! I love seeing the glow on my daughter’s face as she adores her husband and children! And I love seeing my son-in-law so happy!

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A Happy and Healthy Family Was My Most Favorite Gift!!!

Savor your moments with your family as they are your most treasured gift!!!

Love Lee ♥

The Smith’s Christmas Newsletter 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

From Richard and Lee Ann…2010

Each Year we start the Annual Newsletter with “Wow, we can’t believe another year has gone by” and 2010 is not without exception. It has gone by so quickly which enforces the old saying “Time flies when you’re having fun.”

It has been a tradition of ours to mail out a newsletter annually with our Christmas cards. I am so excited to be able to share  electronically this year.

While we have had lots of fun we have also worked very hard over this past year. At the beginning of the year Richard worked as a technical writer and educator providing training at a refinery in Saudi Arabia. In October, he made the decision to go back into production so he is now working for BASF and is happier than I have seen him in years! I continue to work for Angleton Danbury Medical Center as the Director of the Revenue Management Department and find my job very fulfilling and am continually challenged by the ever-changing Medicare rules and regulations as well as the changes in commercial contracts.

Our jobs afford us the ability to play. We love to take frequent trips on our Harley motorcycle. This year we have taken several rides which were well over 500 miles each. It is amazing the unobstructed view I have from the back of the bike. When I hear “ride” I pack my fanny pack with the essentials like iPod, Cell Phone, Camera, Lipstick, and chewing gum and we are off…in pursuit of making a memory.

 We also like to retreat in our motor home to local parks for uninterrupted R&R. We spent Valentines Day at Brackenridge RV Park in Edna, TX. Then, the entire month of August at Quintana Beach County Park in Freeport, TX my favorite…

 Our family has celebrated several events together this year. The most important being the baptism of our granddaughter, Cheyenne. Her baptism was even more special because Richard had the privilege of baptizing her.

Then on Memorial Day Weekend, “The Annual Smith Family Reunion”…as always it was a huge success and we made lots of wonderful memories!

On 10/10/10 I celebrated my 50th birthday and my family did a phenomenal job of surprising me with the fanciest Tea Party ever!

Every gathering with our family is a special occasion and we have occasion to gather often.

 May Our Father Pour Out His Richest Blessings on You & Yours This Holiday Season!                                                               

Love,  

Richard and Lee

                    

She Can Sing

People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17

I was reminded on this scripture last night when I watched the Kids Rock Choir at First Baptist Church of Brazoria perform their annual Christmas program, “The Present is the Future”.   They shared the true meaning of Christmas sharing the message without Jesus we have no future. Their enthusiasm was contagious, the music upbeat, and choreography flamboyant.

In addition to sharing Jesus the performance held additional sentiment for me. To have the honor of seeing both my daughter and granddaughter use their God-given talent to bring glory and honor to Jesus was the icing on the cake!

Brandi my daughter has such a passion for Jesus and for music. I am so proud of her for dedicating her life to Jesus and sharing her passion for music with the next generation. The children just love her and it is obvious she loves them too.

Seeing Cheyenne, my granddaughter celebrating Jesus through drama and music, made me so excited. Cheyenne and I have sang songs to the radio or CDs  in the car but I have never heard her sing a solo. She grabbed the microphone and sang like a pro! The first thing that went through my mind was…

She Can Sing!!!

God is so good to give Cheyenne a beautiful voice and to allow our family’s passion for music to be carried on to the next generation.

Thank you for allowing me a moment to be Mom and Meme…

Love Lee ♥ 

Thanksgiving 2010

I so love getting together with family and friends and this Thanksgiving was no exception! I am so blessed to have such a warm and loving family. We live, love, and laugh a lot!

The day started off very peaceful. I enjoyed my quiet time with the Lord; reading my Bible and praying. Then, it was time to get the turkey in the oven. Martha and I teamed up and got the dressing started. The meal was planned to start at 1pm and things were going as planned.

The first to arrive was my precious granddaughter Cheyenne. She was carrying a plate of homemade treats she had made all by herself.   She chose a recipe from her cookbook, and purchased all the ingredients with her own money. She did such a wonderful job…I am so proud of her!

Second to walk through the door was Cheryl, Ken, and Shawn with awesome treats in hand and was wearing some of the most beautiful smiles. Shawn has gotten so big I have to look up at him now.

As I continued to putter around in the kitchen, family and friends continued to stream through the door and I quickly lost track of who came when. I could tell when another person would arrive when I heard the volume rise and squeals of excitement could be heard throughout the house.

Soon after my dear friends the Cannans arrived, Alisha made her way to the kitchen, washed her hands, and began helping me de-bone the turkey. A concern Alisha had voiced to her mother about Thanksgiving was the turkey. She was worried it might be dry. Thank goodness I soaked the turkey in a brine for over 24 hours…Her concerns were quickly put to rest when she took her first bite.

As everyone began to arrive, the buffet table began to fill up. My family has always been good to pitch in and bring sides and desserts. One thing for sure is God had blessed each member of our family with the ability to cook. The food was phenomenal and as always there was more than enough for everyone to eat.

As is our custom once everyone arrived we circled around the table and each person voiced what they were thankful for. There is seldom a dry eye in the room when we are through and this Thanksgiving was not different. One of the most tender moments was watching my sister and her husband embrace after the blessing. I was blessed to be a witness to it. God is so good and has richly blessed my sister and her husband.

Soon after the meal was over Susan ran to the store and picked up a couple of newspapers end the hunt was on. Everyone was in pursuit of an item they were going to purchase on “Black Friday”. Who would have believed the newspaper would provide the whole family with hours of entertainment.

Oh, and speaking of entertainment…We had piano playing, ballet, and hand slapping games, and of course FOOTBALL…Activities of different sorts in every room. Priceless times!!!

 There were some who were not with us this Thanksgiving and they were missed terribly. Both Richard and Smokey had to work, Lindsey spent the holiday with her dad, Rayfard and Evelyn were celebrating a family member’s birthday, Debbie and Greg were in Arkansas with their grandkids…Our oldest daughter Tori lives out-of-town and was not able to come home but called to wish everyone “A Happy Thanksgiving”. To each of you…”You Were Missed”

What fun memories we made, what great food we ate, and what incredible thanks we gave to our Father in heaven for blessing us!

We are family…

Love Lee ♥

 

 

To God Be The Glory

Preparations for a day of food, family and fun are well underway. Thanksgiving Day with all its excitement is here! As I sit sipping my morning coffee in my favorite chair, I find myself pondering all I am thankful for in my life. 

I am thankful for:

  • My mom for giving birth to me and loving me even when I am not loveable.
  • My Grandparents for loving me rotten (Our Nanny Miller)
  • My Sisters and Brother for looking up to me as their big sister
  • My precious husband for wrapping his loving arms around me and saying I do…and still does
  • My daughters Tori and Brandi who I adore and cherish with all my heart
  • My Grandchildren Cheyenne, Mike, and Brandon who rock my world
  • My precious friends for loving me in spite of my warts
  • All who are willing put aside their own lives to fight for our freedom

Above all other, I am so incredibly thankful for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…without them my being would be void of life!

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalms 95:2  which is what Andrae Crouch has done in the song “To God Be The Glory” 

To God Be The Glory

How Can I Say Thanks
for The Things You Have Done For Me
things So Undeserved
yet You Give To Prove Your Love For Me
the Voices Of A Million Angels
cannot Express My Gratitude
all That I Am Or Ever Hope To Be
I Owe It All To Thee

(Chorus)
to God Be The Glory
to God Be The Glory
to God Be The Glory
for The Things He Has Done
with His Blood, He Has Saved Me
by His Power, He Has Raised Me.
to God Be The Glory
for The Things He Has Done

(Bridge)
just Let Me Live My Life
and Let It Be Pleasing, Lord To Thee
and Should I Gain Any Praise,
let It Go To Calvary.

with His Blood, He Has Saved Me
by His Power, He Has Raised Me.
to God Be The Glory
for The Things He Has Done.  

While you are thankful…Have you given Him the Glory?

Love Lee ♥

 

  

Our Nanny Miller

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time to reflect on the people and things we have to be thankful for. But for me, Thanksgiving is about traditions and getting to do the things I witnessed my grandmother do for all those years.

I will never forget all the wonderful Thanksgiving meals my Nanny Miller prepared for our family. She planned for weeks getting her work list organized. She planned the menu and had all the steps to down to a “T”. She was amazing!!! The family would walk in the door and everything was ready to eat and she would greet each of us with a great big hug and a kiss. No one realized the amount of time she spent on a meal because she made it look effortless…

BUT…IT WAS NOT!!!

As I got older my Nanny began to teach me her recipes for turkey and dressing, pies, and other goodies. She taught me how to plan the meal, when to cook what, and most importantly the importance of keeping a good attitude no matter what.

Being her first grandchild and the oldest of four children Nanny encouraged me to take on our family gatherings. I was about 25 years old when Nanny sat me down and asked, “Lee, how would you feel about having Thanksgiving at your house this year?”. She then said the words that made me ok with taking on the family gatherings. She said, “I will help you”.  And, she did…She gave me suggestions and gentle guidance on how to’s. For a while she continued to cook and bring in her dishes. It was awesome when she arrived the entire family would squeal with pleasure…One would say, “Yeah Nanny’s here…I can’t wait for a piece of her pecan pie” while another would say “Yeah Nanny’s here…I can’t wait to eat one of her rolls.”. Everyone had a like but without a doubt everyone’s favorite was her cornbread dressing!!!

From that Thanksgiving on our home has become the place for our family to gather for food, fun, and laughter. It is a privilege and I am so thankful my family is willing to come here so the traditions passed on by our Nanny Miller can be carried on.

Today as I bake the cornbread and place the turkey in the brine, I can’t help but think of my Nanny Miller and how terribly I miss her. But, her legacy lives on and she is still helping me. The advice she gave me all those years ago are still put into practice today and the minute the first person walks through the door all the hard work is suddenly worth it!!!

I Thank God for My Nanny Miller and all the grandmothers out there like her who are willing to teach the future generations about traditions and the importance of people in those traditions.

While I miss her terribly….There is no doubt in my mind Nanny Miller’s cornbread dressing is being featured at the banquet table in Heaven!

Love Lee ♥

Labor Day Celebration

Good-bye Summer… Hello Autumn

It is always with sadness I say good-bye to Summer, my favorite season of the year. However, with Autumn comes the cool breeze, crisp fresh air, fires in the fire pit, warm savory soups, and sweet breads. Life begins to slow down, the grass grows at a slower rate, and the leaves begin to fall. The days become short and lazy.

This year we decided to send Summer out with a bang…with the sweet laughter of Family and Friends, playing games, Smokin Dick’s BBQ , watermelon, swimming, and fire side chats…

Games: 

The featured game was LCR (Left, Center, Right).

Instead of using money we played with black-eyed peas and the person winning the pot wins a prize.

Everyone knew they were in for a challenge when Pappy agreed to play. It is so fun to see the competitive side of people come out!

Smokin Dicks: When the first hint of Autumn blows in it serves as an excuse to light the pit (not that he needs and excuse).

The ribs were by far the best Richard has ever made! Ummm Ummm Finger Lickin’ Good!!!

He also smoked brisket and sausage and they were equally good.

Served with incredible sides followed by decadent desserts the meal was a huge success!

  Watermelon:

Deb and Greg brought the biggest watermelon I had ever seen. With the initial cut the sweet juices began flowing! Kids and adults alike all enjoyed…

Swimming: The water was so refreshing. Nice and cool…Cannon Balls, Hand stands, and nose dives; all great fun!!!

Fire side chats:

Finishing up the day out by the fire pit with a hot cup of coffee, magazines, and good conversation was a beautiful ending to a wonderful day! 

Thanks to our precious Family and Friends for a wonderful day! 

Love Lee ♥