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Friday, December 23, 2011

A Real Hero

Do you support your troops? Do you believe in them? They fight day after day, volunteer their very lives for your freedoms no matter what country you live in. I not only have military ties in my family both past and present, but I also have many friends who are either in the military or retired from it. My dad was a Navy machinist, my grandfather was in the Army, my cousin is a Marine and my great great grandfather flew in World War 2 (not sure which branch). I served as a Midshipman in the Naval Sea Cadet Corps along with 2 of my brothers and made many friends there. I have a deep respect for all our men and women out serving our country. I pray for them and their families daily. It's a hard life. One day as I saw someone being honored on TV as a hero in the military, I started to think about all those who served.... Heroes who would never be recognized. Can you imagine? Thousands of them living, serving, then dying without much in the way of recognition and thanks. So, being that I love to write poems and stories, I wrote this poem. I hope you enjoy it and that it makes you remember all the Heroes out there.

A Real Hero

A real hero is not measured

by the medals or ribbons he wears.

He is measured by how he served.

Standing with his comrades,

sticking through it all.

No matter how hard.

No matter how dangerous.

A real hero doesn't need publicity

for every little thing.

They live a respected life.

They go about their work

with quiet determination.

Many heroes are never spoken of.

They live and die in peace.

Many go unnoticed.

Men and women both,

doing their duty only to be forgotten.

These are the real heroes.
Written by Emily S. V. January 3, 2011

Dedicated to those serving!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas traditions

With the holidays closing in and soon out, everyone is busy carrying out their holiday traditions. Each family everywhere in the world, with their own beliefs and upbringing doing the things they feel is good for Christmas. There are so many things a person can do. Trim the tree, buy gifts, decorate the whole home with red and green and mistletoe, buy or make fruit cake, don't forget the eggnog, hang the stockings. However, it doesn't end there does it? Visit Santa Claus, the jolly fat man in red who is famed as the only mythical being who travels the world over in one night delivering gifts to each and every boy and girl, so long as they aren't on the Naughty List. There is also carroling, going to church or other places for Christmas pageants or concerts.
With all the options of what you could do, how do you figure out what you will do?
Growing up, my parents started out with the "normal" traditions. We set up a tree, had gifts under it, hung the stockings, drank eggnog, had a huge Christmas dinner, visited Grandma's house, sang Christmas carols and yes, my parents told me Santa was going to bring me gifts as long as I was a good girl.
I would visit Santa wherever he was that year and tell him exactly what I wanted. Mom and dad would secretly go out and get just that, keeping the lie real. Then my mom got tired of lying to my brother and I. As she put it, "Why am I lying to my kids? And why does someone who doesn't exist get all the credit for what I do? I'm the parent, I'm the Santa." So that tradition ended in my family. Along with the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. She even instructed my public school teachers of our new found beliefs and had one teacher lock her out of the classroom when she came to pick up my brother from kindergarten class. I told my cousins their parents were lying to them. That didn't go well for me, but I never recanted. From that time on, I knew I could trust my parents never to lie to me. So, now that I'm all grown up and have my kids, I too have decided I won't lie to them. Santa isn't real. He's a fraud that people use to make money or to make themselves feel better. I'm Santa to my kids. Anyone who gives a gift to another is a santa.
The next big thing that Christmas brings - the tree. Everyone wants a tree. With its twinkling lights, shiny baubles, and something big to adorn the tippity top. But let's face it... its nothing. There is no Christian basis for it. There is no practical use for it. If you get a "live" one, you are killing a tree to get some visual pleasure for about a month before you throw it to the curb. Then you have to deal with constantly adding water to it because its drying out. Most people get pine trees. And pine needles fall when they dry out. Pine sap drips everywhere and is sticky. If you have young children, they try to attack the tree and might even break things on it every chance they get. So why does anyone worry with them? And if they are fake, you have to pay a higher amount but they do last longer. They don't have that fresh pine scent though. There are all sorts of shapes, sizes and even colors now. Can't have snow? Buy one with fake snow! Pick a color scheme to decorate and then buy all these fancy, expensive things to go on it. For the very top, buy an angel to guard your home while you sleep. Don't believe in angels or maybe you are Christian who believes depictions of angels and Christ are "graven images"? Buy a big star or fancy bow instead. Just stop and think for a minute before you do though, its all about money isn't it? Or do you really have a reason and purpose to having this tree? I have not found a single reason for needing a tree for my two young children. And next year, I won't have one. I only have one now because my husband was so dead set on traditions that his family carried throughout his life. I had a tree every year until I was about 8 or 9 years old. Then my family also quit dealing with trees. We visited my Grandma and her fake tree that was huge and heavily decorated with lights bright enough to light a whole room on their own.
I don't even believe that Christ was born in December. And certainly not on the 25th. That particular tradition was started by the Catholic church and has to do with Saint Nicholas (the real Santa), his life and his death. I'm more of the belief that Jesus Christ was born in September or October. But Christmas is a more practical time to celebrate and share gifts since its widely accepted, people are more likely to be on vacation and have time to be with their family and friends.
I've been accused of taking Christmas away from the kids. Not true. I hung the stockings on the wall (since we don't have a mantle in this apartment), I did take them to the mall to see "Santa" and the kids were frightened by him, I'm buying gifts for them (as I can afford it), and on Christmas Eve while my husband is off work, I will cook a special dinner just for us. I buy eggnog and even let my little guys have a sip here and there. We listen to the Christmas music on our local Christian channel on the radio when I drive somewhere since they have lots of the traditional Christmas carols I remember.
I may not follow the societal norms, but I will make my own traditions. So this Christmas no matter where you are, who you are with, and what you plan on doing... Just stop and think sometimes, what does Christmas really mean to you? Are you celebrating it the way you want and believe? Or are you following someone else's ideals?
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Need technical support here in San Antonio?

I had to get data pulled from my scrambled hard drive. My new Sony Vaio laptop had some defective parts and before I sent back the broken hard drive, I wanted to try to recover whatever I could (if anything at all). After calling several places and getting high dollar quotes, I found James on Google maps in my phone. He's the Affordable Computer Expert. Not only did he have the cheapest quote, he was the most informative and polite person I spoke to. He worked hard to get as much as possible from my hard drive, even more than I had hoped. He answered all my questions and kept me informed about every step of the process. I refer him to all my San Antonio friends and will only trust him to handle any future system/hardware issues I have. If you need anything computer-wise or even if you have questions, I highly suggest you use his services. I don't think you will be disappointed at all. He works from his home office, but also makes some business calls.
James the Affordable Computer Expert
510 Saint Xavier, San Antonio, TX78232
(210) 222-2277

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

While you were sleeping....

Cups to make,diapers to change,
little boys wanting to strip and run naked...
While you were sleeping.
Dishes to wash,
laundry to finish,
things to organize and move...
While you were sleeping.
Floors will be cleaned,
counters will sparkle,
toys moved out of the way...
While you were sleeping.
I'll feed the boys,
prepare them for bed,
after I finish their schooling...
While you were sleeping.
Check the mail,
take out the trash,
and finally have your meal ready...
While you were sleeping.
Does it end there?
Your lunch will be sitting, ready to grab and go.
All the things you need for work, will I set out...
While you were sleeping.
And if I have time,
I'll lay out your work clothes...
While you were sleeping.

An original poem written by Emily S. Vinyard on August 30, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Buddy Valastro "Cake Boss" comes to San Antonio!

Okay, so I know this is late since it happened back on November 12 of this year... But I figured writing about Buddy come to San Antonio might be fun and interesting. So here goes...
I love watching the TLC show, Cake Boss. Its so much fun! All those yummy cakes, the hilarity of his daily life in New Jersey, and the wide variety of customers that come seeking a special order cake. So when I heard he was coming to San Antonio for a book signing, you can bet I just had to meet him!
He actually came to the HEB that my husband works at off 1604/Blanco. I showed up with my kiddos and met my husband in the line they had. Word spreads fast when a celebrity comes to town, as was evident by the very long line. The book signing was supposed to last an hour or two starting at noon. He came in with his wife and kids and the crowd went absolutely wild. They had a great system set up. Everyone opened their books to the title page and was instructed not to spout of their life story so that the line would flow through smoothly and quickly. After he signed each book, he would pause to say thanks and have a picture taken with each person or group that came up.
Then after moving on from meeting Buddy, we got to have his wife sign the book and get a picture with her as well. Both of them were so sweet. I still love the show and the fact that its one thing I can still enjoy watching with my family. And having met him was truly a wonderful thing!

Meeting Santa Claus in North Star Mall, San Antonio, Texas

I met a friend at the North Star Mall in San Antonio this past week. I brought my 2 sons and she brought the little girl she takes care of for a friend. The plan was to meet Santa with the kids and try to get pictures. Neither one of us really wanted to pay a fee for the photographs provided by the mall staff though. We thought we would just have one of us outside the gated area to snap a few with our phone cameras.
Upon arriving, the kids froze up at the sight of Santa sitting in the big chair. My boys cowered against me and I ended up having to carry both of them to see the jolly man in red. I have to admit, I felt sorry for the guy. Sitting there in that thick red suit sweating all day while having to convince kids to sit on his lap and give a smile for the camera. My boys didn't even want to look at him. (Let alone tell him what they wanted for Christmas.)
"Santa" was really nice about it. He offered for me to sit on the chair next to him and let the kids see that mommy wasn't afraid of him. He asked about Thomas the train (how did he know it was my kids favorite?!) and Cars (which were on their shirts). He gave them a little penguin toy and tried talking to them about the colors of the penguins. He actually made an effort to make them warm up to him and smile. I think he's a great "Santa". He even invited me and the boys to come back again and see if they warmed up to him. Gotta be the best Santa I've ever encountered.
So if you are in San Antonio and looking to bring your kids to meet "Santa", take them to the North Star Mall.

Have you noticed lately....

Recently I saw an update about a friend on Facebook. I met him several years ago when I worked for the Jacksonville Public Library. At that time, he was a volunteer and I was training him to help with whatever tasks he was loaded with. He always had a smile on his face, never complained about anything, and had a mind like a sponge ready to soak up information.As I read the update, I realized just how fortunate I was to have such a person as my friend. He's changing the world and making a real difference. But I also realized that he's not the only amazing friend I have. I've met so many people in my lifetime that have made such a difference in how I am today. Friends from Sea Cadets who taught and mentored me as I learned my position of Midshipman. Friends I met at the library that have been there through thick and thin. Some friends who have known me since I was just a skinny child running around and imagining everything possible!
About 95% of the friends and family on my Facebook profile, I can honestly say I admire and respect them very much. They change lives without knowing it. They earn respect in the way they treat others and act in their own daily lives. Whether I see them often or only online, whether they read this or not... I just want to say Thank You! Its people like them that put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.
Have you checked your friend list to see what treasures you've missed? You might be surprised at the memories that pop up when you look back at them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My first blog

Okay, so after much encouragement and prodding, I've decided to start a blog. I can't say this is going to be the best ever or that many people are going to bother reading it. But.... here goes!
I'm currently a mother of two boys. I spend my days taking care of them. I also enjoy reading and writing. I often help my friends with editing their English papers since my English skills are awesome. I'm a nerd and quite proud of it. English, history and learning are things that I can spend hours doing.
I'm fluent in American Sign Language. Coupons and meal planning are a must though I'm not an extremist at either. And even though I'm all grown up, the kid part of me that refuses to grow up still enjoys creating with Legos >.<
I think that's enough of an introduction for now. I'll close by saying, I hope this blog is informative and fun for everyone. Until I write again....