Over the last few weeks I've started to write this article quite a few times and then have to wait when another new bluetooth audio device shows up for me to review. From tabletop speakers to truly wireless earbuds, and over-ear headphones to ultra-portable speakers. We've received devices at every price point and quality level. $250 on ear headphones from European manufacturers that launched via Indigogo and $70 special edition travel speaker sets from newly established powerhouse Anker.Read More
This time of year is different for everyone I guess. How we feel about the the "Holiday Season" is shaped pretty strongly by our past experiences, our childhood memories, and in some cases unfortunately family drama. My Christmas memories are pretty full of all three to be honest, but it has always been a time of year when I was excited. I was eager to see if I made the right gift choice for a loved one. I was anticipating vacation time with the family, even if it just meant more time sitting home playing games or watching TV together. I couldn't wait for the feast that was Christmas Dinner, and the traditions that came with it like my Mom's ambrosia salad or my Uncle's Strudel.
This year the holidays are here, and it doesn't feel like I'm two days before Christmas. We've got the tree up, but at this point we haven't even gotten any presents under it. Carrie and I have gotten some of what we wanted to get for the kids this year, but have been so busy with critical issues over the last few weeks that shopping has fallen off the radar.
Christmas dinner, a Fat Boy's holy meal holds no promise this year with a restricted diet eliminating 75% of the food I would be looking forward to on our dinner table. If I was feeling better for it I probably wouldn't sound so resentful saying that, but after a week the digestive problems restrictions are supposed to be solving aren't improved and even more foods are being eliminated from my diet.
Old friends and family are still grieving the loss of a close friend from my school days who's decline started around Thanksgiving and whom passed on December 4th. As I write this my Mother-in-law is asleep in a chair at the hospital bedside of her husband, and I'm getting ready to head back to the hospital to join them while we try to find answers as to why my father-in-law who really has become "Dad" in the 16 years of my marriage had a series of seizures last night after several strokes in the last couple of months.
With his condition as serious as it is I've spent much of the last two days preparing myself that he might not make it to Christmas. I've had to hold volunteers together at the pantry we run as a family and church body, weighing keeping volunteers (who have become like family to all of us) informed, against the immediate family's need for SOME privacy and the need to keep things on track so that the more than 200 families that depend on is for food every week aren't adding food to their list of burdens this Christmas week.
With all of this going on its easy to justify why the "Joy of the Season" seems to be in short supply. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers this week. I'm heading back to the hospital, you have a Merry Christmas everyone.
Five years ago today Carrie came home from a doctor's appointment and said she needed to talk to me. Those who have known me all of my life know I've been in some scary places, but I didn't know what fear felt like until my wife told me she had cancer that afternoon. I didn't know what to do, but a song from my youth popped into my head, and it's lyrics never felt more appropriate. Petra had a song in the late 1980s called "Get on your knees and fight like a man", and never did those lyrics make more sense than that night.
Somehow we made it through Christmas without telling the kids ( I can't remember how we managed that), through our individual breakdowns with family and friends. We made it through the doctors appointments and surgery the same way we have made it through everything else life has thrown at us: together by the Grace of God.
When you are facing the ultimate test of faith and grace you learn a lot about yourself and those around you. I learned two things. First, I married Wonder Woman. She beat cancer and came out the other side deciding to run marathons and finish college while still working full-time and not missing a beat. The second thing I learned is that I don't know who I would be without her in my life, but I know it would be far less than I am.
In a few weeks she will be "Officially" Cancer Free, and we will celebrate with joy. But this Christmas I wanted to make sure to that the world knew how thankful I was for the only gift I'll ever need: my beautiful wife.
This holiday there are a lot of different ideas for gifts. One of the most unique I think are subscription services. Gone are the days of fruit-of-the-month club, today's subscriptions are a whole new game. From deliveries of personal grooming products, to movie subscriptions for theater tickets, there is something for everyone on your holiday gift list.
Each month, you'll receive a selection of samples that they’ve tried (and retried) themselves. The women’s subscription includes everything from skincare to makeup, as well as fun non-beauty extras. The men’s subscription delivers top-tier grooming products in addition to lifestyle accessories ranging from hip socks to tech accessories. Check out the ever growing list of products in their Women’s Shop and Men’s Shop. For $20/month it is a great way to get variety of new products into the hands of those people you know who you can never buy for.
MoviePass is just getting started, but it is an intriguing concept. For $35/month you receive the ability to see a new movie everyday. Simply go to the theater and select a movie and showtime using the MoviePass App. Check-in at the theater to load your MoviePass membership card (You must be within 100 yards of the theater to successfully check in). Then use your MoviePass membership card to purchase your ticket at the theater kiosk and enjoy the show! You are limited only in that you can not see the same movie twice, and IMAX and 3D movies are not included. For the movie lover on your list this is a homerun. You can find more information and sign up here.
For the dog owner in your life there is Barkbox. Each month, your dog will receive his own box of treats and goodies to play with, making for much less boredom (and therefore, less furniture destruction) around the house. $25/month, and can be found here.
The great thing about all of these services is that you can send digital gift notices, so it is a great last-minute gift idea as well. Of the three BarkBox is the only one I haven't used yet, but they are all great ideas for your holiday giving.
Ok, dinner is in the books, and everything came out perfect. Meat was amazing (see my earlier post), Yorkshire Pudding was awesome, potato/sweet potato mixture was tender and perfect. Here are the pictures to drool over. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.