2019 December 13 Friday

2019 December 13 Friday in Liberty Hill, Texas

gracious good morning to you! May your day be filled with wonder and joy. The sun is shining and the birds are singing … or at least making a racket.

he toll road was relatively free of traffic this morning.

I saw one vehicle stopped by the police this morning which may account for why the majority were traveling closer to the speed limit.

s of 1:00 p.m. we had a slow but steady stream of traffic to see Santa. As usual I had more visits than the photographers had photo sales. I don’t understand why they aren’t trained in any sales techniques. I don’t understand why they don’t take photos of those who “just want to talk to Santa”. It is digital photography, you have not incurred any expense by clicking the button on the camera. It costs the potential customer nothing to look at the image on the screen. If they don’t want to buy it, you’ve lost nothing. If they like the photo, you’ve turned a profit. What am I missing here?

round 1:30 I received a call from the district manager for Cherry Hill (the photography company) asking if I would be willing to go to San Antonio and cover the evening set at Rolling Oaks Mall. I said yes.

was willing to drive the hour and a half (if traffic was good), work until 9 p.m., drive the two hours home, and be back at Lakeline Mall at ten o’clock tomorrow. I was willing, but not wanting to do it. I never received a “go ahead” and at 4:30 the set manager said he was told that it was covered and I could go home. Whew!

he items I brought home yesterday for the food pantry, were taken to our church today. Ella made arrangements for a friend, who was going there tonight, to take them. I’m glad that was taken care of.

God bless and g’nite

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  • Day 74 in our Texas home
  • 32 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 12 Thursdayz

2019 December 12 Thursday in Liberty Hill, Texas

trip in from Liberty Hill’s to work today was mostly uneventful. However there were a string of fire trucks that we’re coming up behind me but turned before they got to me. I wonder where they were going? I pray that wherever they’re going everyone will be safe.

or some reason unknown to me, the door to our dressing area has not only been unlocked but standing wide open for the last few days. Now I know that maintenance also uses this for storage. So I can only assume that they are the ones opening it. But I do wish they would shut the door again when they are done. Because if I sit out there in my Santa suit, and kids go by, it can be confusing to them.

hen Jessie, the set manager, arrived this morning, she was carrying a bag of groceries. She asked if I could use them. Both her mom and dad had, unknown to each other, bought groceries. So there were duplicates that they didn’t need. Most of the items were things that the local food pantry is asking for. This morning I ordered groceries from Wal-Mart to be picked up after work. Some Items were ordered specifically to donate to the food pantry. I will take Jessie’s and ours to Cross Tracks Church food pantry collection site.

had a grand day today. Several bus loads out special needs adults were in the mall shopping today and many of then came to see Santa.

hree years ago Ian, an 11 year old boy with Downs Syndrome, came to see Santa. Though he can talk, it was difficult to understand him, so he also communicated partially with ASL on a limited scale. I also knew a little sign language. After his pictures were taken, his mother went to look at the photos while Ian and I sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and pretended that the big Santa chair was a sleigh. When mom came to get him, he went over, hugged her, kissed her, and told her goodbye. He was going to stay with Santa.

ast year we were closing the set to change Santa’s when I saw him standing in line. I waved him in, got the pictures and again visited for a short time while mom looked at photos. Again, he didn’t want to leave. He told her he was going tho sleep in my chair.

oday his mom brought Ian for photos. Today, when she was ready to leave, he went with her. However, an hour or so later, she came to thank me for the joy I give to get son. I said that he gives me so much joy also. Ian parked himself on my lap and was ready to stay again. It took some persuading for him tho go with her.

n my way home I stopped at Wal-Mart to get the groceries that I had ordered online before going to work. I also went in to get Ella’s prescriptions. The pharmacist had been at the Wal-Mart back in Iowa so I told her that the temperature back there was 29°.

felt rather proud of myself for remembering the groceries AND the medications. That is until Ella asked where the pizza was. I had forgotten that she had ordered pizza for me to pick up.

art of the reason I forgot about going for the pizza was because I was a little shaken up by the guy whole pulled around me to run a stop sign. He came close to running head-on into a tractor trailer with a load of rock. I don’t know where he had to be in such a hurry that he could endanger so many lives. I hope he made it there without causing a accident.God bless and g’nite.

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 73 in our Texas home
  • 31 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 10 Tuesday

2019 December 10 Tuesday in Liberty Hill, Texas

t was right down cold last night and this morning. We had not turned any heat on before going to bed. Ella woke up around 3 a.m. and turned on the fireplace. The weather slowly reached 50° under cloudy skies and then quickly dropped again. It is predicted to be 30° by tomorrow morning. I WILL make sure that the heat is on tonight.

woke this morning at 6 to the sound of thunder. It wasn’t until about 7:30 though when it really started to rain in earnest. That’s when the roof started leaking.

ast year when we came back to Texas, we arrived to a leaking roof. With the help of my friends we got that patched and taken care of. I have two more weeks of Santa and it is dark by the time I get home. Which makes it kind of difficult to get up on the roof and do anything about it. I just pray that there’s no more rain until I get a chance to get it fixed. Or that it does no more damage.

riving in the rain this morning wasn’t much of a problem except for the water being splashed on me from the vehicle’s head. But it was still uneventful.

one-year-old boy named Dakota came to see me in his t-shirts that said it’s my birthday. Despite everybody’s best efforts he did not smile. He just sat there very calmly. When Mom came to get him, at first he wouldn’t go with her. He just snuggled deeper into Santa’s coat. It took her many tries before she finally coaxed him to come to her. I think she was about ready to give up and and leave with me or just grab him and go.

oday I had a two year old girl ask for a set of golf clubs and also an 18 month old girl who wanted luggage for Christmas. I thought maybe I had not heard her correctly and questioned mom. Dhe said, “Yes that’s what she said, she wants luggage.”

or the first time ever, I had a child asked if I was one of Santa’s helpers. I assured him that I am Santa. I am there to portray Santa not one of Santa’s helpers. I did let him know, however, that Santa does have helpers, because even Santa can’t be in every place at the same time.

hen I arrived home, it smelled of barbecue. Ella had fixed barbecued ribs for supper. She also had corn and riced cauliflower. It was a good meal. I think I may miss her cooking my suppers once I am done with the Santa gig.

uesday night is Prayer Meeting night at Cross Tracks Church and seldom do we not attend. Tonight, however, I chose to stay home. It was cold and dark. Don’t tell anybody but I am becoming less inclined to drive at night. I don’t feel as competent when driving in the dark. Oncoming headlights really bother me.

God bless and g’nite.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 71 in our Texas home
  • 29 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 09 Monday

2019 December 09 Monday in Liberty Hill, Texas

n my way to work this morning I followed a gray Chevy truck that seemed to have difficulty staying in any one lane. It would not only drift to the left into the next lane it would drift to the right off of the road. I chose to stay well behind it.

he air was filled with a smoky haze again today, just as it was yesterday. In Central and South America, where they raise sugar cane, this time of year they burn the leaves from them to make it easier to harvest. That smoke comes all the way up here into Texas and effects our air quality.

This image is not my photo. It is from am advertisement.

his morning as I was filling my truck with gasoline, I saw a rather large waisted woman get out of a car wearing what appeared to be men’s underwear. Now as troubling as that is, this isn’t the first time I have seen somebody doing that. At least three times in the last couple of months I have seen women who are apparently wearing men’s underwear as outerwear. Is this a new trend? Are we now also going to see men running around in their underwear? Or worse yet, men wearing women’s underwear as outerwear?

y work, you should pardon the expression*, schedule for the next week is from 10 to 4:30. Shortly my schedule increase to 9 to 4:30 then 8 to 4:30, then the final day 8 to 2, and then, way too soon, it will be over. Santa will soon pack away his suits and resume his secret identity as Tom Williams.

oday was a slow day except the first hour when there were 6 groups of children to were Santa. Plus, most got photos.

y one downside for today was when a young couple brought in a child of one year old or less. The photographer told them the proper procedure when bringing a young child to see Santa: keep the child focused on the parent and set the child on Santa’s knee, the same way you would place them in a stroller. But this couple ignored the instruction and did what so many people do, introduce the child to Santa. This seldom works well. Invariably the child cries, screams, squirms, and kicks. The parents try in vain to make them smile and then say, “Oh well, we tried.” No. No they did not try. The set the whole thing up to fail by not following sound advise from people with experience.

*Being Santa is so rewarding that it doesn’t seem right to call it work.

God bless and g’nite.

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 70 in our Texas home
  • 28 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 08 Sunday

2019 December 08 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

o sunrise photo today folks. We were rushing around to get to the mall. We had a stop at our church tho drop of supplies for the breakfast bar. We grabbed some food and left.

t is odd not attending worship on Sunday. Five months of the year I preach on Sunday at our campground in Iowa. Six months out of the year I mostly listen to someone else preach … I occasionally fill in. And one month I miss worship service because I’m being Santa on most December Sundays.

his Sunday I was not preaching but I was still ministering. This was “Caring Santa Sunday“. This is my happiest day of the season. I get to bring some joy to the lives of some special needs kids (of all ages). They, in turn, fill me with so much joy.

his year Ella, as she has done many times in the past, assisted at the Caring Santa event. Which is why we were rushing this morning and why we both missed the worship service. Caring Santa starts a couple of hours before the mall stores open. That way there’s less noise and confusion for those who are very sensitive to these things.

ecause I began earlier, I also left work earlier. Santa Charlie took over at one o’clock today rather than the usual Sunday schedule of two o’clock.

mentioned sometime past that Elwin, a friend from Iowa, was visiting family in a neighbouring town. We were not able to make a connection earlier. Today, however, we spent some time with him at his daughter’s home. I told him that it was good to hear someone speaking Iowawegian again. We become immersed in or Texicana society, that when we get back you Iowa, the accent (or lack of one …. maybe?) sounds a little strange for awhile.

fter visiting with Elwin, we went to IHOP for a late lunch or early supper (you’ll never convince me that the evening meal is “dinner”).

his isn’t technically a sunset photo. But it’s not often that you can look at the sun without special equipment. Today all it took was a mystical haze in the southwestern sky.

God bless and g’nite.

ome of the over 150 letters to Santa that I’ve received so far this year. And, yes, I read them all. Sometimes I have to bring the parents in when the whispered request is for such as the “western hog nosed girl snake” that a preteen girl asked for. Or when a child asks for a trampoline, I will say that it is too big to carry in my sleigh when it is all assembled. I ask the parents if they could put it together of I had it shipped to them.

Here is a sampling of some resent days in the big chair.

December 6th

One of my first visits was with a young mask Man 4 years old. He would not come to see Santa unless he was wearing his red mask think Lone Ranger. He wanted a large hatchimal.
My next visit was with a very tall slim young special needs man with mental, physical, and hearing loss. He had a hearing aid and still communicated partially by sign. He was a very happy person. He has a twin brother with autism that mom willi bring some other day.

Next was a set of one-year-old twins boy and girl who are not at all happy to see Santa.

I next had a special needs man, maybe 40-ish, who wanted a real boat. I said I only have toys but maybe I could get you a remote control boat. That seemed okay.

A few crying babies, and a few happy babies.

5 year old Noah, with a learning disability, and his 1 year old sister came to see me. Sister would not get near me. Noah was a hugger.

I also had a three-year-old boy with his grandmother the boy refused to look at Santa or the camera. It turned very slop slow. At 1:30 there were four employees and no customers.

It turned very slow. At 1:30 there were four employees and no customers.

That afternoon I had a four year old girl with no hair, I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to spoil a visit with Santa. Around 3 we had a small Rush.

Around 3 we had a small Rush.

The trip to Lago Vista was uneventful. Finding the home was easy enough despite all the hills and twists and turns of the road. The children were a delight, especially Willoh who was the alpha child in charge. She was like lightning dressed up as a two-year-old.

The trip home was exciting. Those of you who are familiar with a Texas Hill Country and in particular the drive on 1431 west of Largo Vista, will appreciate that drive all alone on a dark night. I traveled every point of the compass and many changes of the altimeter.

December 7th

I drove to work in full Santa gear. I drove through Sonic for breakfast. When I pulled up to the window, I was told that the lady ahead of me had paid for my meal.

Every weekend there is a farmers market / craft fair in the mall parking lot where I park. That isn’t usually a problem for me because I have a handicap tag, however today there was a truck and trailer parked sideways and taking up all of the handicap spaces. He had no tag. My more vindictive side thinks I hope he gets a ticket for every space he occupies. But my better side just prays that he moves before someone comes who really needs it.

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 69 in our Texas home
  • 27 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 07 Saturday

2019 December 07 Saturday in Liberty Hill, Texas

ow! The Weatherbug folks head the nail squareinn the head this time. They predicted a high of 65° and the actual high was … wait for it … 65°! Ta da!

his morning there were only 2 eggs left in the carton. There were several items Linn the shopping list that we were out of. So I opened the Wal-Mart grocery app and ordered everything from the list. I set it to be picked up after I was off work.

nd then I told Ella to just stay inn bed where it was warm. And she could fix her the last two eggs for her breakfast this morning. I drove through Sonic on my way to work. Oh, I should mention I was dressed inn my complete Santa outfit. When I pulled up to the window I expected to be greeted as Santa. And I was. What I didn’t expect was that the woman in the car in front of me had paid for my breakfast. That was extra nice.

n the way home, I let Wal-Mart know that I was on the way. The app then tracked me as I was getting closer to the store. When I parked the app asked which spot I was in and the color our my vehicle. However, the color was already filled in because it remembered from the last time I used the app. I find this way of shopping time saving and cost saving also. It saves money because I only purchase the items on the list and don’t make those impulse buys.

nd, no I didn’t get paid for that endorsement. Other stores and businesses are also beginning to drop similar order ahead-pick up-later shopping plans.

God bless and g’nite.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 68 in our Texas home
  • 26 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall

2019 December 06 Friday

2019 December 06 Friday in Liberty Hill, Texas

e slept quite comfortably last night with neither heat not air conditioner running. Is like to keep the electric bill under $100 this month.

nother clear Texas sky to begin our day. The stars were shining brightly when I woke this morning Orion’s constellation was close to disappearing over the horizon.

udolf the Red-nosed pick up was very thirsty this morning. It took over 22 gallons to top off his 25 gallon tank. He needed to bye full and ready to fly because Santa will be making a home visit with Willoh (2.5), Layla (2), Asher (2), Ammon (6 mo.), and Omari (2 mo) in Lago Vista this evening.

have a lot to say about today but considering I left home at 8 this morning and I didn’t get home till 9 this evening, I’m not saying it right now. I’m going to bed.

God bless and g’nite.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 67 in our Texas home

2019 December 05 Thursday

2019 December 05 Thursday in Liberty Hill, Texas

he day began chilly, not cold, just a chilly, windy 50°. The pre-dawn sky was marvelous. However, before the sun could fully rise we were completely overcast with a bright gray cloud.


ur little town of Liberty Hill has a campaign encouraging people to decorate with lights: their businesses and their homes and it’s called Deck the Hill I enjoyed the pun.


ou would think that as Santa that we have lots of decorations up in our home. You would be wrong. We have plenty of Santa Claus themed things, that are part of our normal everyday decor. However, we haven’t done any outside decoration, no wreaths, no lights, no Christmas tree up.

he litter pick up crews were busy this morning on my six mile commute into Liberty Hill. I don’t think they pick up the dead deer carcasses, however, and there are plenty of those littering the side of the road.

he litter pick up crews were busy this morning on my six mile commute into Liberty Hill. I don’t think they pick up the dead deer carcasses, however, and there are plenty of those littering the side of the road.he litter pick up crews were busy this morning on my six mile commute into Liberty Hill. I don’t think they pick up the dead deer carcasses, however, and there are plenty of those littering the side of the road.he litter pick up crews were busy this morning on my six mile commute into Liberty Hill. I don’t think they pick up the dead deer carcasses, however, and there are plenty of those littering the side of the road.


y tentative plans for this evening were to stop at Costco before going home. Our church has a breakfast/coffee bar as well as the kitchen that are in need of some supplies such as plates, napkins, and cups.

t took the better part of an hour to drive the ten miles or so from the mall to Costco. When I saw their parkinglot, I didn’t even bother going in.


omorrow I have a Santa gig at a home in Lago Vista with five or six children from tiny babies up to 10 years old, I believe. I’m going to take some of my books to read and they have informed me that they have a book they want me to read also.


ometimes on my commute to and from work I take 183 which is Highway that actually passes through the neighboring towns and the speeds very from 60 miles an hour to 45 miles an hour, although no one seems to drive those speeds. Sometimes I take 183A which is a toll road with the posted speed of 75 which seems to be the minimum speed that you drive on that road, as I get passed regularly. But many times I take a third option, I take the bypass roads along the side of 183A, which are 60 miles an hour. There are a few stops at the major road intersections, but it’s really quite handy to get most of the way to work.

G

od bless and g’nite.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 66 in our Texas home

2019 December 04 Wednesday

2019 December 04 Wednesday in Liberty Hill, Texas

his is Grandies day. Which means that I let Ella out at The Over The Hill Gang building so that she could attend the Grandies group. After the meeting she stayed to play canasta. One of our friends drove her home.

n my way into work on 183 someone darted in front of me so close that I’m surprised they didn’t scrape the paint off on my bumper. I slammed on my brakes so hard that it killed my engine and I had to roll off to the side so that I could put it in park and restart it. After mumbling a few choice words questioning the marriage status of their parents. I asked God to forgive me and to watch over that person and all the people that there are around today and keep them all safe.

ork was from 10 to 4:30. We had some big mucky mucks from Simon Malls and Cherry Hill come to our Santa set today. It was a perfect day for therm to come … The mall was empty of shoppers … particularly children. It gave them first hand knowledge as to why the photographers aren’t making the sales goals set for them. Also word got back to me that they were particularly impressed with Santa.

hurried home to get Ella and go into Round Rock for Beket’s music program. It was an impressive performance considering that they head only been practicing for 3 months.

fterward, we went with Arik and Jenny to get hamburgers. I was hungry because it was about 13 hours since I had eaten. Can I count that as feasting?

God bless and g’nite.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 64 in our Texas home

2019 December 03 Tuesday

2019 December 03 Tuesday in Liberty Hill, Texas

Sunrise

Sunset

oday I was in the big chair at the mall from 10-4:30. Other than a few Mall Walkers and some employees the mall was empty in the morning. It is a sunny day, maybe that will encourage more people to come see Santa. My first visit of the day was with Charlie who will be 5 in January and his five-month-old twins siblings Sullivan and Kalinda.

saw a special needs man, probably in his late thirties or early forties, with his mother / grandmother / helper I’m not sure which. He was looking excitedly at me, so I went out to talk to him. He hugged me. I asked him what they were doing in the mall today and he said shopping. He said that he liked hugging Santa. So I gave him another long hug.

made it home just in time to see the sun hiding behind the trees. Ella had supper on the table and was standing in the drive to meet me. That can only mean one thing, she was tracking the trucks progress with the Hum.

took a short nap before we went to the regularly schedule prayer meeting. We talked a lot about how our congregation is broken at the moment. They are hurt and feeling resentful our remarks our pastor made in his sermon the last Sunday our September. Ella and I had not arrived back in Texas in time to hear what was said. All we’ve heard is what people have told us they heard. I know there is often a disconnect between what was said and what was heard. There is also a disconnect between what was intended and what was understood.

God bless and g’nite.

  • Visit my devotions blog new devotions every day (nearly)

  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.

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  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 64 in our Texas home