Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sixty Four days until Christmas Eve. Looking outside, most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and the sky is gray. I think we will have snowfall before Thanksgiving this year. E-mail and phone calls have kept me busy taking appointments for Santa Randy. My heart is still heavy for my best friend Cindylu who is at day 99 in ICU at a hospital in Alabama. Yesterday her husband Charlie put me on speaker phone so Cindylu could hear my voice. I told her to keep on fighting. She is a strong woman, but so fragile after lying in bed for so long. I will keep praying though and this week is a Novena to:
St. Jude who performs miracles for the impossible. I miss my friend fiercely.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Incredible Festival at Our Lady of the Lake

This was our 9th Year at The Incredible Festival chairing The Children's Games and Wacky Hair Booths at Our Lady of the Lake parish in Mound, MN. We have been parishioners for 38 years. OLL is the reason we chose land to build our home in the area. We love the church and its members. We experience the Love of God and Christian Strength each Sunday we attend. The Incredible Festival is a 3 day weekend event following Labor Day. The dates are "locked" on our families calendar. It is a weekend we volunteer as a Thank You Gift we give back to the church and community for all that it has given to our family. We spend the entire weekend with our 3 children and granddaughter working the booths and making wonderful family memories. We look forward to this weekend every year as the blessings come back to us in multitude from the children we get to interact with. Saturday morning is the "Kiddie Parade" which Santa leads each year. We always have a theme. Our favorite so far in the past 9 years has been "Patriotic Pride". In honor of our Godson, Sgt. Erik V., Santa Randy donned his USMC Toys for Tots apparel and led the parade through the festival grounds.
A fun time was had by all !! Pictures of our booths before the opening of the festival. Once the festival begins, we have a steady flow of children playing games and getting their hair done !

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A return to blogging...

I have heard it said so many times, "time flies by". It truly does as 5 years have gone by so quickly... What brings me back to blogging? dearest best friend in the Santa Community, Cindylu from Alabama whom I am missing so. I first met Cindylu at a Santa convention in 2006 in Branson, MO called "Discover Santa". It was to be one of the first of many conventions we would be at together. There were over 500 Santas and Mrs. Clauses who attended this first of its kind convention. We didn't really get to know each other right then and there in Branson, MO, but after we returned home though different chat sites we belonged to such as yahoo and ning, now forgotten along the way of social media!! While Cindylu and I are similar in many ways, we are different in many as well. Cindylu is a SASSY SOUTHERN WOMEN who speaks out on many things and speaks the truth even if it might offend someone. I on the other hand, often hold things back and try not to offend anyone. It was my first reality check with north and south culture !! However, that "Southern Spirit" kept drawing me closer and closer to Cindylu and we became what we considered "True FOREVER Friends"!! We continued to correspond through e-mail and social media until we finally came face to face at our second national Santa Convention in 2009 called "Celebrate Santa" in Gatlinburg, TN. We both volunteered to present at workshops and had a grand time together. Friendships like this don't come along very often and we enjoyed it to the fullest. In 2012, Cindylu and her husband Charlie co-chaired to bring the Santa Community back to Gatlinburg, TN for a convention called "ClausFest 2012". I volunteered to be Cindylu's executive secretary and helped in many facets of the convention. We had a GRAND TIME in Gatlinburg and sealed our friendship in concete!!
Photo from ClausFest 2012. Two more years went by and I once again volunteered to help with "ClausFest 2014" and back to Gatlinburg we went!! It takes 1 full year of non stop planning to put on these successful conventions, but it is all worth the time and hard work. It is so fun to see Santas and Mrs. Clauses from not only the entire USA, but from other countries such as Denmark, Australia, Canada. It truly is an international gathering.
Photo from Clausfest 2014. Over the years, Cindylu and I would exchange daily e-mails or phone calls on occasion. She never got Skype hooked up, but it was on her "to do list" !! In May of 2015, Cindylu began to have some strange symptoms that brought her to the doctor. After multiple tests and scans, it was found she had one carotid artery which was totally blocked but also had a large anneursym on the other side of her second carotid artery. The doctor determined the best plan would be to unblock the one carotid artery by placing a stent in. The surgery was successful and she returned home to wait for healing. However, she ended up back at the hospital with a clogged stent. She underwent a second surgery to have that stent removed and a new one placed. She once again returned home to rest and heal for about 8 weeks. She continued to have some strange and unusual symptoms, but the doctor assured her in time, they would disappear. On July 14, she returned to the hospital for her anneursym surgery. It was a long 4 1/2 hr surgery for a large anneursym, but she came through it great and woke up laughing and chatting with her family surrounding her. She was to be discharged the next day to continue to rest and heal at home. However, on the morning of July 15, she was found unconscious on the floor of her hospital room. Scans showed she had brain swelling, a brain bleed, and a small stroke. Today is day 43 for Cindylu in ICU. Some days are better than others for her where she is able to squeeze Charlie's hand, open her eyes and nod while others she remains in deep sleep. Her ventilator has been removed and she has a trach and feeding tube. Charlie is most often found at her bedside giving positive re-enforcement while the Santa Community prays daily for Cindylu to heal and return home with Charlie. I cannot put into words how much I miss my daily e-mails to Cindylu or occasional spur of the moment phone calls. I know in my heart, there will never be another friendship that will be like the one we have. I continue to pray with Novenas and devotions asking God to help her heal and allow her to remain on earth in the Santa community where she is loved and admired my many. I still have her last e-mail she sent me the day before going into the hospital for the anneursym. Her words are treasured and remind me she too felt the same way about our friendship........ "Keep those prayers coming, ok? Thanks for being such a good friend to me through all these years. You have no idea how much I have loved and appreciated your friendship through all the things we've been through. When I say you are the BEST, I really mean that YOU are the BEST! With love, Cindylu" I miss you so much my dear friend and I am not giving up on that we will once again see each other at a Santa convention. The prayers continue for you around the world. With love, Debra Ann

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A favorite day for Santa....making and testing cookies !!! 

Santa Randy Back by popular demand at B's on the River in Watertown, MN
- A Morning with Santa. Decorate cookies, hear a story or two by the local ECFE and have your picture taken with Santa. When: Saturday, November 27thTime: 10:00 am - Decorate Cookies, 10:45 am - Story Time, 11:00 am Pictures with Santa. 

Don't forget your camera & a container for your cookies!..

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

So Many Things to be Thankful for.....Faith, Family, and Friends.  Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving.     
Pilgrim Santa Randy & Debra Ann

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Celebrate Santa 2010

Last year we were able to attend the 1st Celebrate Santa which took place in Gatlinburg, TN.  Unfortunately this year we are unable to attend.  Today is the big Santa Parade down Parkway Street in Gatlinburg.  We wish we were there and will miss seeing all our Santa friends.  We hope next year we will be able to attend.  May your week be filled with fun times.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent.....40 days to spend more time with God

Ash Wednesday....what a moving reflective evening service. The temps were mild, the air was crisp and clean and the sky was lit up with stars.   Breaking away from the normal schedule and spending an evening with God is such a wonderful have the freedom to do so is even more amazing.

These last 2 years have been such a struggle for so many.  I watch what so many have worked so hard to accomplish only to slip away......our lives are changed in moments.  My favorite words to God have now become, "Lord, send down your Spirit and renew the face of the earth".  We all need a renewal of life and it needs to come through the Lord.

We need to come together as families and communities and pray together and for each other, especially during these next 40 days.   Take extra time out each day for prayer and reflection.....say your morning prayers before you turn on the TV or computer...say a rosary on your drive to work instead of listening to that morning radio crap talk...go to your church on Sunday to worship as a community.  People in other countries don't have that opportunity or freedom to worship in public.  We get so wrapped up in our daily lives that Sunday has just become a weekend day...I can't believe when people say "I thought it was Saturday today" or "What day is it on a Sunday" can you not know it is Sunday ??
The people of the church I have attended since being married are so wonderful.  I get squeezes on the shoulder as they pass me up to communion, hugs after church, and people who hold my hand and look me in the eyes as wish me a happy and blessed week.  You can't get that from staying home on Sunday or praying by yourself.  Make this Lent the begining of your renewal with God and the religion you have the freedom to particiapte in.

Blessed Be--Debra Ann