November 30, 2008

Happiest Season of All?

My eldest sister talked me into joining her in the infamous Black Friday shopping spree. Intent on finding the best sales at all times, I couldn't resist. We were up by 3 am and with a few sips a coffee and half a pop-tart, we were out the door into the Winter Wonderland by 330, in an attempt to be near the front of the pack lined up outside Kohls. Having some experience in this shopping phenomenon, Bethany knew to bring a stroller, as no carts would be left to use. When the doors opened, it was like mass chaos, a similar to scene of that when Sex and the City was released in theaters and a sea of stilettos raced for the best seats. Bethany and I had drawn up a plan of areas to hit: me, Men's Wear, Bethany would be at women's. The plan was null and void with the combination of racing women and amazing deals every which way the eye could see. With the checkout line wrapped around the store our new plan was to take turns standing in line while the other shopped. We were out of the store by 530 with more than $325 worth of items and a total of $260 spent. Our next stop was Target. That was an adventure! We waited in line while some believed that had beat the system and waited by their cars until the store opened, hoping to jump in front of the line. Security was prepared for this and stopped their efforts while those who had waited shivering in line pointed and laughed like elementary school children. We definitely had a plan for this store! I was to go to electronics while Bethany waded through the sea of carts towards the accessories. It was like the rapture. People were realizing there was no getting through the waves of carts and began to abandon their buggies in the middle of the store for the sake of reaching the good items. Others used their carts as obstacles with which to block others from the center of the aisle where the coveted items were held. I waited in line for an all important present in the electronics section, not knowing that the item needed to be paid for immediately. With sweat dripping I called Bethany and said, "Abort the stroller! I repeat, abort the stroller! I need the credit card asap!" She left the stroller in the middle of Target and came to my aid. Needless the say I was able to get one of the 50 items in stock of this product.

Its so surprising how while "Its the most wonderful time of the year..." blared over the store speakers, men, women and children alike were pushing families over with carts, knocking over displays and verbally attacking other shoppers for the items listed on their Christmas Wish-Lists. I was mistaken to think that this time of year always brings out the joyful best in people. Until this Black Friday experience, I had been naive.

Next year, Sharon, Bethany, and I have decided we will shop together on the Black Friday, wearing bright green shirts made to say something to the effect of "Black Friday Mamas" and will bring two things: shopping bags (to replace the bulky carts) and whistles (to keep track of one another's locations throughout the store).

Needless to say my jolly holiday shopping is officially finished! Thank the Lord!

November 24, 2008

Nice Country, 'eh?

With my Pipa in the hospital and the prognosis not the best, we all made a trip to see him yesterday. He was on a lot of medication and therefore was not himself, barely conscious. It was so difficult to see him so helpless. I felt helpless. For the random seconds that he opened his eyes or spoke an understandable syllable, his comments were nothing short of those we have heard his utter time and time again. They all resounded to the sound of joy for his family. He muttered things like, "We did it, right! We so lucky! ( in reference to graduating college, having families, and being hard workers and loved family members). As helpless and struck with ailments as he was, he stayed in true character; caring only for his family and wanting them to know how truly proud he is of their accomplishments, who they are as individuals, and their support and strength as a family entity. We were able to pray with my grandpa, despite his lack of consciousness, i saw a smile crawl across his face as we read scripture. My dad said one thing to me as I sobbed in fear of grandpa's condition, "We will make sure he knows Jesus and that Jesus has him in his hands."

That said it all. I love my family and want my Grandfather to know Christ's love and his comforting hands are what has provided him with these treasures and this family that he constantly and thankfully embraces.

November 18, 2008

Gone with the old?

It's official. My turbo Taurus of a car, is no longer considered to be Cubs175 on record. The license plate that once graced the presence of a van, then a LeBaron, and finally the red rhino, is now retired. When it was time to change my title to put under my husband's name, we decided it was less expensive to be assigned a random license plate. With that said, I felt a lump in my throat when my husband walked through the door this evening, holding the remnants of yet another piece of Janna Elton's past. Yes....I do realize how dramatic this may sound, but isn't that the purpose of a unique writer? I often get the same feeling when it comes time to throw out that pair of pants that I've had since high school, only sending them to their grave on a "fabric malfunction."

I realized today that giving up my former last name (which will hopefully, legally occur soon) goes hand in hand with giving up other parts and memories. My license plate, being one of the puzzle pieces. Who's to say that this is a negative number, however it is still difficult to watch portions of who you were proud to be, and what you were "proud to drive" (in so few words), become someone, or something else. The red Taurus that sits in the driveway is now another number among the millions of registered drivers in the state of Illinois. At least Janna Elton (Howard), the person isn't just a number to those special people around me (however the license plate fact does remain true no matter who is standing next to me). JP and I tried to memorize it tonight but it doesn't bode well that he cannot even memorize his number that he has had for several years. O seemed appropriate that I retire the psuedo-name "Cubs21" in the year that I believe the Cubs retired their entire team prior to the first pitch of the playoffs. So long Cubby bear....hello 2304982304982034982039840239840293840293480239480238402

November 16, 2008

2 decades old

Happy Birthday to my baby brother. Funny thing is he is 20 years old today and nearly 2 feeet taller. Not so much a baby. I love you so much, Richard Drew. I am so proud of how you are pressing through these tough years in college, impressed with your soccer skills, love your quirks and humor, and can't wait to see what God does with your life in the next few years. I love you!

Happy Birthday Uncle Dick!

November 13, 2008

Just Breathe

I got some really frustrating news today, having to do with my Illinois Teaching Certification that sent me into a downward spiral.

Have you ever had something shake you and make you take everything else down with you?

I began to regret my decision to go to school out of state, my entire college experience, my current position that I daily find is a trial, and created many other "what ifs?" in my churning bowl of thoughts.

On the way home I heard a song and these words gave me another rattle:
"Even in the darkness, everything is yours."
To many that may seem abstract and confusing. To me, it said it all. I can't say that I've experienced a gallon of turmoil and hardships in my life, rather trivial trials compared to some. However, just when it seems I've picked up my, at times, fading relationship with Christ, something rocks my world. That seems to be a pattern for many, doesn't it. No cliche necessary, I understand why such moments in our lives, arrive at this particular point, but it doesn't make it easier to handle, grip, or put into perspective. Lord be in the midst of my chaos.

November 10, 2008

Look What you Made me do...

My sisters and I have taken opportunities to share our commentaries on the ensembles we see ourselves dressed in when looking at past kodak moments. Usually, Mom's response is..."you wanted to wear that."

This kid, will never hear Mom or Dad repeating that excuse to him in 10 years:

On a lighter note I am so thankful for my husband. We are finding less and less time to do our devotions and usually turn the tv off around 10 pm just before jumping into bed. We decided to make a rule that the tv goes off by 930 from now on so we have time to wind down with just our own thoughts and a short devotion together. It really melts my heart to see him be the one to remember. Its now 943 and im still on the computer. "Against our new rules" he says. Time for me, GOd, and my hubby...o and a down comforter (its freezing!). I can't wait to see what God does in our relationship with our new committment to spend time with him.

November 7, 2008

hahaha Aftermath

Not posting this to smear his name, just thought it was funny!

Money Money Money


1)food (to feed my husband and his endless stomach)

2) clothes (i can't resist a good deal)

3) birth control (don't want no accidents!)

4) my class (wish it wasn't so)

5) other people (i love giving to friends for no reason)

6) baking needs (experimenting on new recipes is a new hobby)

7) bills, bills, bills (enough said)

8) shoes (can never have enough...just when I buy one, another pair from my closet goes extinct)

9) small trips to Target (which eventually turn in to $30-$40 escapades)

10) makeup (i can't believe of expensive it is!)

REPOST THIS ON YOUR BLOG. "What do you spend money on?"

November 3, 2008

Vote for Oprah

I realized something while wading through piles of newspaper headlines screaming "Vote for ________." It doesn't matter who is elected president. God is bigger than Obama...and God is mightier than McCain. I did not vote out of fear for where our country will be, nor out of despise for a certain party of person. I truly believe that no matter who takes up residence in the White House as of Wednesday, God is in control. With that said, we might as well elect anyone to office. If we as a nation can't decide who to vote for, just put Oprah in the White House. People perk their ears up more for her than our own president (Sad but true).

So I pray that God will be at each voting post, in each booth, and I know that he knows what each ballot will say. God goes before us and is always surrounding us. God bless America...please.