2020 January 12 Sunday

2020 January 12 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

s you can see, this was another night with uneasy sleep. The doctor’s magic potions may be helping the shingles to heal, but I still feel as though I’ve been punched in the back, kidneys, and ribs. And worst of all, I didn’t have a chance to fight back.

Worship Center
150 year old chapel

oday’s sermon by pastor John Saint at Cross Tracks Church was titled The River of Life. It was as interesting take Linn the baptism off Jesus.

got home as quickly as I could after worship and Sunday school. I’m hurting a lot. If you ever have the opportunity to have shingles – DON’T.

nce home, I immediately stretched out in the recliner, tossed a blanket over me, and went to sleep. I slept until 1:30 when Ella woke me for lunch.
God bless and g’nite

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2020 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 104 in our Texas home

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*The Over The Hill Gang, (3307 RR 1869) Any area senior 50 years or older is invited to join for fellowship and a meal every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The first meal is free; afterwards, individuals are asked to donate $6 for their meal.**Grandies welcomes those 50+ every week with friendship, games and a ministry to connect to others. As a special part of their ministry, Grandies sign and send greeting cards with inspirational messages to those serving in the military, the sick or homebound and church members celebrating happy milestones like birthdays and graduation. Since this ministry started, more than 3,300 cards have been sent!

In the summer, Grandies also work to make available snack packs through Operation Liberty Hill for children who may not otherwise have enough food without a school in session. Additionally, they provide meals at Vacation Bible School. and host bake sales twice a year to raise funds for their important works.

Wednesdays, 9 a.m.
Currently meets at the OTHG building (3307 RR 1869)

2020 January 05 Sunday

2020 January 05 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

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t church today we welcomed our pastor back. He had been on a forced “time out” following things that were said in his sermon on September 29. Which was the Sunday before we arrived in Texas, so we have no first hand knowledge of what was said. I only know that it upset a lot of people and a call was made to the bishop.

his Sunday was a very mild retelling of the visit of the magi. Watch It here.

fter worship and Sunday school, we went with some friends to Cherry Creek Catfish. Ella had found a coupon for a buy one get one free. I was in too much pain to enjoy my meal and brought most of it home. The pain in my back and abdomen is becoming much harder to deal with.

The following story is titled How to Name a Cat.

e lived in a house too small . A house built for two, and we were more.

needed an office space that I didn’t have to rent. My publishing business could be run as easily from a home office as from the office space it currently occupied. All I needed was space for my equipment: computers, printers, copier, light table, files, and more files. But we lived in a house too small.

e found a house. A big house. An old house. A house with a basement room with an outside door. An office space where my sales staff could come and go without interrupting life in the home. We bought a house.

he house was Victorian architecture built with huge red, Colorado sandstone in 1890. Although It was now in Des Moines, at the time it was built newspaper stories about it wondered, “Why would anyone want to live so far outside the city?”

lthough it was no longer surrounded by field and forest, we soon discovered that there were wild creatures who wanted to share our home, mice.

e needed a cat. A tomcat. An old cat. A cat wise in the ways of mice. We needed a hunter. A slayer of mice.

aving overheard that I wanted a cat, our daughter, knowing of a person who sold cats, brought us two female kittens. Kittens raised in a cage. A cage in which they’d lived most of their lives. A cage that they were afraid to leave. Two scaredy cats.

wo kittens ignorant of mice and their ways. Kittens, not cats. Not what I wanted. I couldn’t send them back to that pet mill from which they’d come.

ames. They needed names. I don’t really know why people give names to cats. Cats seldom come when you call their names. They may come when you say, “Kitty, kitty, kitty” and have food for them. Or they may just lift their head from where they lay curled in the sun, and stare at you with the most dismissive of looks.

ut we feel the need to name them. It is our God given duty to name the animals. Read Genesis chapter two and verses nineteen and twenty, if you don’t believe me. Names. They needed names.

he black cat was easy to name. Aren’t all black cats named Midnight? The grey tabby cat … what to name the grey tabby? Something to match her personality. Crazy Cat? Kitty Retardo? Skittish Kittish?

t happened when my son and I were sitting at the table in the kitchen. The kitchen was one of only three rooms in the house without carpeting. The other two being bathrooms. So, there we were sitting and pondering names. That was when the grey tabby made an entrance. I don’t mean to say that she came into the room. I mean to say she made an entrance. And it was an entrance that we recognized. We had seen that entrance many times. On TV. On Seinfeld. The kitten came sliding sideways into the kitchen and them did a little twitch and looked at us expectantly.

ramer! It was obvious that this kitten’s name was Kramer.

God bless and g’nite

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives

http://TomAndEllaJournal.WordPress.com

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

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

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 97 in our Texas home

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*The Over The Hill Gang, (3307 RR 1869) Any area senior 50 years or older is invited to join for fellowship and a meal every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. The first meal is free; afterwards, individuals are asked to donate $6 for their meal.

**Grandies welcomes those 50+ every week with friendship, games and a ministry to connect to others. As a special part of their ministry, Grandies sign and send greeting cards with inspirational messages to those serving in the military, the sick or homebound and church members celebrating happy milestones like birthdays and graduation. Since this ministry started, more than 3,300 cards have been sent!

In the summer, Grandies also work to make available snack packs through Operation Liberty Hill for children who may not otherwise have enough food without a school in session. Additionally, they provide meals at Vacation Bible School and host bake sales twice a year to raise funds for their important works.

Wednesdays, 9 a.m.
Currently meets at the OTHG building (3307 RR 1869)

2019 December 29 Sunday

2019 December 29 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

very pretty sky just before the sunrise. It looks kings of surreal, don’t you think?

was pleased to bring the message today at Cross Tracks Church. The title of the sermon was “How Herod the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas.” I also wrote the children’s sermon in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Herod the Great was an evil man. Imagine he is the Grinch, if you can.

Herod’s palace was filled with who’s. And he hated them all, The Young and the old the large and the small.

He feared they were after his throne. And it was his throne and his alone.

The wise men came from afar Silently led by an overhead star.

They came to the Palace the place of the king. Of the Messiah he knew nothing. not a thing.

There’d been no Revolt no uprising. But the birth of the Messiah, now that was surprising

His scholars said that Bethlehem town, Was the place a new king would be found.

Herod begged, after you’ve found him. I’ll send gifts to surround them.

The wise men weren’t fooled by Herod the Grinch. They’d not come back his way, that’s a cinch

Herod would search the area and town, And destroy all the boys that he found.

Joseph had a dream late at night, A horrible dream and he woke with a fright.

The Grinch planned evil for his young son. Pack up the family and run Joseph run.

Take Jesus, your wife Mary, Flee to Egypt and don’t tary.
Joseph would do as he was told. He packed up the donkey with frankincense myrrh and gold.
Next went Jesus, Mary and clothes, Then off to Egypt they goes.

They stayed in that foreign place, Until Herod had died and it was safe.

They returned home as fast as they could. And Jesus from Joseph learned about wood.
The Carpenter’s son they often said. But we all know God was his Dad.

The baby grew to became a man, Who could do those things that only God can.

He used a little boys lunch And fed 5,000, now that’s a bunch.
He went for a walk on water. And raised Jarius’s daughter.
He was beaten, whipped, and hung on a tree, to cover our sins for you and for me.
He was dead and buried but, didn’t stay dead. He rose and went to heaven instead.
He made a way for me and for you, to go up to heaven and live there too.

fter church we went to Golden Chick for lunch with friends. We were unaware that the soft drink machine had been turned off and there was no ice. It was due to a water main leak.

Ella had already beaten me once before this photo was taken. It shows her beating me a second time.

This it’s her beating me for the third time. Does this qualify as spousal abuse?

This was my turn to win.

have to lay-in-wait for the sun to reach the horizon for photos like this

God bless and g’nite

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

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

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  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 85 in our Texas home

2019 December 22 Sunday

2019 December 22 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

he fog wasn’t bad this morning from our deck at home. However, it was soon noticeable once we were on the road. The further into Leander that I went the denser the fog became. By the time I drove into Cedar Park it was less foggy. I can’t say that the fog delayed me in any way. That was because there was also less traffic to slow me down.

oday’s schedule at Lakeline Mall was 10-2. That allowed me time in the morning to drop Ella off at Cross Tracks Church so that she can sing in the choir and attend worship as well as Sunday school. A friend brought her home and, maybe, out to eat first. I will also picked up my breakfast from the breakfast bar at church.

his is my carpet that I brought in to the Santa dressing area so that we wouldn’t have to contend with the filth on the floor. However, Charlie had also brought in a carpet and laid it on the Sunday before I came in Monday with my piece of carpet. So for most of the season we’ve had a double carpet. I will be rolling mine up and taking it home. At some point I hope to have it on the floor of the topper.

was off at 2:00 and home by 3:30. I stopped at Dairy Queen for chicken and dumplings (and milk shakes). I also stopped at QuikTrip for gasoline. That means DQ to QT.

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.

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 81 in our Texas home
  • 38 days as Santa at Lakeline Mall, Cedar Park with 1 at La Cantera, San Antonio

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.

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

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

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

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

2019 December 01 Sunday

2019 December 01 Sunday in Liberty Hill, Texas

hat a change from the 71° start with a high of 82° to 43° this morning!

he wispy mare’s tail clouds looked nice at sunrise. Often there are no clouds and the sunrise is rather plain and uninteresting. Sometimes the cloud cover is too thick and there is no discernable sunrise at all. So this sunrise was a nice surprise.

was able to go to part of the 9 o’clock worship service today. I was able to sing the hymns, though I sat in the back of the sanctuary, not with the choir. I was able to hear and record all of the sermon, “Silent Wings” before leaving for the mall. I wasn’t able too attend Sunday school which is after the first service.

anta was busy in spurts today. There was a line when I got there and it grew and shrunk for about an hour. There was a short lull. And then another line formed, grew, shrunk, grew again then stopped. After another break, the line formed again and lasted until about 1:30 or so. A had a few more in before I left at 2.

had a woman with two preteen boys come to see Santa. Being the usual mom, concerned that every pant leg was of equal length and every hair in place, she was focused on the boys, not Santa. When she went to look at the photos, she started to cry. She came back and said that I looked so much like her deceased father that it had hit her hard when she looked at the pictures.

lso today I had a woman come sit on my lap and say I reminded her of her husband that died of alzheimer this past year. I told her that I have 3 lists: the naughty, nice, and prayer list. She asked me to add her to my prayer list. I said that I would. And I have.

rounded up all my gloves and shirts and took them with me to the laundromat where Ella was waiting for me. I had left her at church this morning. After worship she went for lunch with friends at Cherry Creek Catfish. They then dropped her off at the laundromat. Since I had all the clothes in the truck, she had to wait about an hour and a half for me to arrive.

ne of our acquaintances, from the Grimes senior center in Iowa, is visiting his family in Georgetown, Texas. He called Ella and they set up a time to meet at IHOP. However, it didn’t workout with his ride. We did go ahead without him.

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.

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 62 in our Texas home

2019 November 29 Friday

2019 November 29 Friday in Liberty Hill, Texas

oggy foggy morning. There was very little traffic this morning. Since this is Black Friday, I had expected the hoards of shoppers flooding the highways. It will be interesting to see how today plays out on the set.

he mall was busy but certainly not the crazy Black Friday Frenzy that you see on television. Santa was busy most of the time without having more than a few people waiting in line.

riving home in the fog wasn’t bad except for the sudden appearance of cars driving without their headlights on. Even though we were both in the proper lanes, It’s unnerving when they suddenly appear a dozen car lengths away and heading in your direction. I took as many back-roads as I could, to avoid traffic.

had the pleasure of being Santa for several special needs people today. One was a young woman of 22. I remember her from the last several years. She has a very distinctive look. It appears that she has a little girls head on an adult body. I can’t think of a better way to describe her. She is always very sweet and a little shy. The things for which she asks are things you would expect a preteen to ask for. I also had a mother with two preteen boys with autism. One with dark hair and heavyset who gave me lots of hugs and kept cuddling in with his head on my chest. We had a hard time getting him to look at the camera. Her other son was fair haired and thin. He fixated inn the umbrella for the camera flash. So, with him, it took time to get him to look down at the camera. I also had a 17 year old week it’s an exchange student from the Czech Republic.

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.

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 60 in our Texas home

2019 November 20 Wednesday

2019 November 20 Wednesday in Liberty Hill, Texas

t looks like a nice week ahead, weatherwise. This morning might not be as bright and cheery as yesterday, but we had the door open and enjoyed the temperature and the breeze.

dropped Ella at the Over The Hill Gang building so she could attend Grandies. Afterwards she went with some of the group to Dairy Queen for lunch. I’m not not sure who brought her home after that .

t was a very slow day for Santa and even slower for the photographer. I had children come to talk to Santa that didn’t have photos taken. I also had two large groups of co-worker adults who came to get group shots. Both groups were from different stores in the mall. So that should give you an idea of how un-busy the mall stores were, that they could lock their stores down and come for a photo shoot.

ight more days until Thanksgiving. Nine more days until Black Friday. Black Friday could go either way for the Santa set. Moms, who are shopping, may send dad with the kids to get photos. Or they may not bring the kids at all. However, after Thanksgiving the crowds willi start forming to see Santa.

lla had supper ready when I arrived home. She even had a treat for me, a Heath bar Dilly bar. I had about a half an hour to relax before we went to choir practice.

nce we were home again, I worked on a sermon for December 29th. Last year my sermon was titled “After Christmas Sale”. This year’s sermon will be about the unexpected ways God provides our needs at the moment we are in need.

he sunset was amazing. And I’m amazed that the photo turned out as well as it did, because I took the shot out the driverside window as I was driving home.

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.

http://armchairsermons.wordpress.com

  • Tom and Ella Daily Journal of Our Lives

https://tomandellajournal.wordpress.comhttps:/

  • All content (except quotations) ©2019 Thomas E. Williams
  • Day 51 in our Texas home