Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at the Brays

Bailey and Raven run for cover.

"Oh, I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

"Smile Baily"

Christmas at the Brays

Christmas '08 is officially in the books. The family gathering was small with many missing members. We missed Adam, Justine, and Brody, especially. However, we ate and played bingo as usual and as always, Mom cooked too much.

Candy's Christmas

"Ouch, easy with the hat!"

"What am I suppose to be?"

"Santa's elf or the court jester?"

"Hey, I look pretty good in this. Don't you think?"

"Dig the snowman."
Tabitha and Sean came over tonight after work to eat at Granny's and exchange gifts. I really liked all of my N.E. Patriot gear (see up coming blog), but we all got a kick out of what they got for Candy. I don't know about the elf costume, but as easily as Candy gets cold she should enjoy the sweater all winter long. Candy also got a NE Pat dog collar. Cool!


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what [who] lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
With Christmas comes the end of yet another year. I believe the close proximity of one to the other is no coincidence. During these days, we tend to review the past year with some regrets and anticipate the next with a degree of uncertainity and fear. Thus, what an appropriate time to reflex upon the Lord Jesus and His visit to this earth some 2,000 years ago.
During the waning years of the turmultuous first century, the apostle John wrote the following to assure some rather unsettled saints, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. When we have invited Christ into our hearts, the earthly events of the past, present, and future have no bearing on our eternal wellbeing.
Have a merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Christmas Eve

Aunt Nette, Debbie, Betty, Sherry, Cousin Gina
Debbie, Betty, & Sherry

We drove to Texarkana to eat lunch and visit with Debbie's mom and sister as well as her aunt's family. Her cousin, Gina, made it in from Dallas just minutes before we had to leave. I hadn't seen Gina since she was a little girl. Everyone looked and felt good. I am glad Debbie got the chance to see everyone and I was happy that her mother got to spend time with a few of her kids.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Past and Future

Here are a couple of pictures of my grandmothers (paternal on the left and maternal on the right). Note the terrified great-grandchildren including Tabitha in her red suspenders. Sadly, both of my grandmothers have passed on, but I know I will see them again some day. Christmas is a time for families to gather and to enjoy one another's company. There are only a finite number of opportunities for us be with one another; however, Christ came to provide us with the chance to live with him forever and to be reunited with those saints who have passed on before us. According to Jesus' own words, he came "to seek and to save that which was lost." It was the human race that was lost in sin; it was the human race Jesus came to save by his sacrificial death on the Cross. All we need do is ask for the salvation Jesus provided. Salvation comes "by grace through faith" is the way Paul put it and "not by works lest any man should boast." We each need to search our hearts to be sure we can go back to a specific time and place where we ask the Lord Jesus to provide us with that salvation-- a personal request, for personal salvation, from a personal saviour. This salvation was not something we were born with or acquired through baptism or doing good works. True salvation comes by the grace of God to those who ask in faith for what they did not earn and did not deserve. My prayer is that all who read this blog have been saved; for me there could be no greater gift than to know all of my family and friends will spend eternity in heaven.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eye sight

This year will be remembered as the Christmas of the "big screen & the empty house." This will be the first Christmas Debbie and I have celebrated without kids in the house in a very long time. It certainly takes the air out of Christmas; we haven't even put up a tree, a wreath, a string of lights, or even one strand of tensil. And with my weight being what it is, I will not even be able to enjoy the food & candies this year either. I feel like the Scrooge's tight, grumpy uncle. Hopefully, next year things will be different with grandkids here and on the way. It will be a necessity to decorate for them. They should put the air back into the holiday season.
As for our presents to one another, we have already exchanged. Debbie got the big, flat screen TV for the bedroom and I got the big screen monitor for the computer. I don't know that either were as much a luxury as they were a necessity. Both of us are loosing our eyesight; I am already up to trifocals causing me to walk around all day looking like I am nodding to everyone (you have to wear at least bifocals to get my meaning). The big screens help out a whole bunch.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tabitha's Baby Shower

The night finally came for her baby shower at our house. Since I do things in short spurts I have been preparing for nearly a month. The day finally came and we had a good shower. Tabitha looked so cute.

We were surrounded by our friends and family for which we are very thankful.

And lots of great food which best of all I had nothing to do with having to prepare. Thank God I am surrounded by plenty of women who love to cook and are very good at it.

Getting Ready for Tabitha's baby shower

DeRoche Church wanted to give Sean and Tabitha a baby shower and ask if we could have it at our house. It was my job to decorate which made me happy because it meant I didn't have to cook or worry with food in any way. I had a ball getting ready for the party. Stressed me out to the max, but it was still fun. I started with Brayden's name over the fire place. The nursery is done in jungle animals so I added a jungle animal theme to the letters. The pictures on the end in the lion frames are actual 3-D ultrasound pictures.

Next I carried the jungle theme a little further and created a small jungle display on the top of our wood box.

Then I added a clothes line with baby clothes on it instead of traditional streamers. Most of the clothes are hand-me downs. However I couldn't resist hanging some of the new ones they received at their shower in Rhode Island, how could I leave out the Patriots and Red Sox?.
Some of the outfits were ones I saved from when Adam and Alex were little which is probably noticable. The two on the end were theirs. Tabitha calls them "retro". I still thought they're cute.

I finished up with a diaper cake for the centerpiece on the kitchen table.

Adam's Family Christmas Pictures

I recently received some pictures from Adam. These are a few of the Christmas pictures of their family. Boy we sure do miss them!

Brody will be fun this Christmas

My favorite! No, he did not get this close to Santa -- that is Adam with a glove on. I am anxious to hear what his reaction to the real thing will be.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


After literally months of waiting and a seemingly endless list of installation problems, the spa was ready for its inaugural run by 6pm Friday.
Safety Breaker. . . installed! Tub. . . filled! Water Temperature. . . 102 degrees! All three pumps . . . fully primed! Jets . . . fully operational! Swim suits . . . . on! 5. . .4. . .3. . .2. . .1. . (splash) AHHHHHHHHH! YESSSSSSS! OHHHHHH YEHHHH!
Another blessing to add to our things to be Thankful for this year. And hopefully this will help Debbie feel better, particularly on those days she can barely get out of bed.

Thanksgiving O8

Last minute cooking by the head chef.

Say, "Cheese"

Enjoying the weather. Nice warm day.

Football game watching.

The Brothers

Well, this year's thanksgiving was a little on the sparse side. With the exception of a late show from Alex, no grand kids were at the Bray Thanksgiving Dinner this year. In addition to the sparse number of guests, we decided to have finger foods this year as opposed to the full spread of years past. It was still too much and everyone left full as usual. It was also a special Thanksgiving as it was Dad's 80th. Dad and Gary's birthday landed right next to Thanksgiving Day this year, which is a little unusual. I guess Thanksgiving Day fell a little later this year. Although the grand kids were not present, the kids were all there and even Cathy had managed to come by and visit Dad a few days before Thanksgiving.

Fossil Hunting

Where are those fossils hiding?

There is one!

This is what we have come here to find.

Yes, you have found one. Good job, girls!

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I went out with the 6th grade class at Bismarck Middle School to hunt fossils. I volunteered to be part of the Education Renewal Zone (ERZ) program, which partners college professors with public school teachers and their classes. I spend time with my adopted class in the field, in their classrooms, and in my classroom/lab. I purposely chose the 6th graders over high school students because they are still so enthusiastic and excited about learning, even science. If we can get students excited in middle school about science and keep them excited through high school, I might have a chance at having excited freshman biology classes in college. I just felt it was not right for me to gripe about the quality of freshman students we are getting nowadays in our college classes without trying to do something to help.

This 9 weeks the 6th graders are learning about earth science, which is not my specialty. However, we combined earth science with biology and bingo. . . we got fossils. I knew where there were a lot of fossils of marine animals that were just laying on top of the ground and would be easy for the students to find. The kids had a blast and so did I. It was such fun teaching students who had such interest and excitement for the topic. Everyone found fossils to take home; some of them had a bag full of them.
I have to come up with another field trip for them in December, so maybe a show at our campus planetarium. They have a Christmas program revolving around the north star and the winter skies. However, beginning in January it is biology and we have some great stuff lined up from extracting their own DNA to typing blood. I plan on spending some time in their classroom and having them to visit my classroom and lab.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Katie and Lainey

I received some pictures of my great neices. They are so adorable. Lainey is on the left and Katie is on the right. Katie will be 2 in a couple of weeks. Lainey still has a few more months to go before she gets there. I am glad they can grow up as close cousins. I like having my kids and my brothers and sisters kids being close in age. It definitely made holiday time more fun. Love you two girls.