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Christmas and cleaning


We are in Houston right now visiting with family and friends. We came down yesterday. We only have Tony (he came from Fort Leonard Wood late Thursday night), Felipe, David, and Elizabeth. Matthew, Benjamin, and Maria all stayed in OKC as they all had work.


Fito and I stayed with Douglas and Ary. Celeste (2 years old) and I have been watching Wee Sing videos today (a gift from us) and dancing. She wants me to hold her to dance.  We opened presents with them last night and she is at that perfect age for Christmas.


Tony and the younger four stayed at their Aunt Tami’s with their cousins. They haven’t been together since we lived in Houston…almost five years so it should be a good visit.


Other cousins have been calling us as tonight is New Year’s Eve. It looks as though there are two main places we need to go to- from different sides of the family. We will go to one first, and then go to the other family’s party.


We haven’t come to Houston for New Year’s for several years-- it will be fun to see everyone.


Last Monday, I didn’t have to work so I started to put away the Christmas tree, but then Fito wanted to burn therefore, we all went out to burn. Matthew and Gabe came to help, too.


We have about 5 acres of land and 2 and ½ of them are wooded. Also, the lake is really low from the drought and that gives us the opportunity to clean out areas that are usually under water. We also have a new neighbor whose land aligns with ours and our woods are preventing them from having a view of the lake.


They have been helping us clear that back area so they can see the lake from their porch. Monday, they and we all worked clearing brush and burning piles. The piles did not want to catch on fire. The ground is soggy from the lake and the brush was soggy as well.


I worked all day and when I came in, the boys were moving sacks of feed from one shed to another. (Fito and Jorge (a friend) rebuilt the shed that had been destroyed from the tornado.


They were laughing at me because I looked like a chimney sweep. I had soot all over me and my face was super dirty. The next couple of days I was sooo sore, but thank goodness my sciatic nerve did not begin to hurt.


After two days, I stopped hurting…yea…really for 52 years old. I still do well. And I always forget how good it feels to just go out and work all day doing physical work. There is something completely refreshing, soothing to work outside beautifying the earth…whether it is gardening, landscaping, clearing the land…


When I was little, I always had the desire to go to Alaska and tame the wilderness. Now older and wiser? I know I do not like the cold, but I do like working in the earth.


The tornado, too, messed up our woods. At one point, we almost had the woods cleaned out. We had worked for over six months cleaning and then the tornado came and now there is debris, downed trees, broken branches…little by little…we are getting it clean again, and we are getting lots of firewood for the future.


I have canned turkey and broth from leftovers and I have started writing a book on Critical Thinking. After my home page and my blog, Critical Thinking is the most viewed page on my website.


The other day, I was doing a training and it came to me that almost every other skill depends upon our ability to think critically….decision making, problem solving, goal setting, setting priorities. If your thinking is distorted or incorrect, or you are blind to reasoning or creativity you will not prosper as much as you could if you were thinking better.


I know for me, that when I do something dumb, it is because I did something without really thinking it through.


For Christmas, for Douglas, I made a quadruple batch of Snicker Doodles and took them to Houston for him.


Our Christmas was nice and I think everyone was pleased. The night before Christmas, Felipe was commenting that he only had one present (a large, very light one) and he asked what was in it. I said it was a Teddy Bear.


He said that if it were a teddy bear that he was going to run away. The thing is…there was a teddy bear in the box…as well as an envelope with money.


We made him open his present last. When he saw the teddy bear plus other stuffed animals- everyone started laughing and they all told him he had to run away. He was very happy with the money.


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