Friday, December 25, 2009

Keep the Spirit of Christmas Alive in Your Hearts

Christmas Day is almost over! However, it is just the day that is over, not the true spirit of the day and the season. I am reminded of the words Charles Dickens had Scrooge say when the great redemptive change came over him--"I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year." 

We should all try to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our hearts and lives the other 364 days of the year also. That should not be hard if we have the true spirit of Christmas dwelling within us, and that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He came, and we celebrate His birth one day out of the year. However, He came to bring us joy and abundant life, and He didn't offer that to us for just one day, but for all eternity.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is here!

Just the other day it was September 26, and we were preparing to receive our first group of the 2009 season. Now it is December 22, and we wonder where the time has gone. We've been busy! Nearly 1,200 people have toured the house since that opening day. One of our guests was the 65,000th visitor to the Christmas House. That's a lot of people isn't it? We are so grateful that people keep coming to see us. Many are return visitors from past seasons, and that is a real compliment. A few are returning for a visit this season. At least when they come another year, they are seeing all new decorations and hearing new stories and songs. However, it really says a lot to us when they come back a few weeks later and want to experience the same tour again. Most who do this bring friends or family with whom they wish to share the experience of a tour of The Christmas House, so we have a policy about return visits within the same season (between opening in Sept. and closing at the end of March), and that policy is free admission for the person returning. So, you only have to pay once each season. We receive e-mails and notes from visitors after their tours of The Christmas House. It is so encouraging to the three of us to hear from people about how much they enjoyed their visits to our home. We especially love the positive comments about our sharing of the Gospel and the true meaning of Christmas. As I tell all groups, we love Santa, reindeer, and all the magical things that go into making Christmas the most special time of the year, but for us, Jesus is the real reason we celebrate! It is our prayer for each of you that this Christmas your eyes of faith will see His beauty, behold His glory, and that you will feel His love--a love beyond all measure. Remember, it is a love that was willing to suffer an agonizingly painful death so that our sins could be forgiven with no pain on our part as long as we know the Savior personally and serve Him. We should pay the penalty for our sin, but Jesus did it for us on the cross. As you celebrate the Birth, don't forget to let the Cross be a part it. A line from one of my favorite Christmas poems says, "Yet behind His humble manger stood an old rugged cross!" He knew about that cross when He left Heaven to come to earth, and he did not hesitate. It was all because of His love for us. Let that love fill your lives and overflow on to others this Christmas and throughout the coming year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Let the Celebration Begin!

Thanksgiving is upon us, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. I pray that you are getting your Christmas priorities straight by putting the true meaning of Christmas in first place. While Santa Claus, Christmas trees, gifts, and all of those wonderful things are part of our Christmases, both past and present, we must never forget the real reason that we celebrate. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son so whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Such simple words with so much meaning! Where we spend eternity depends on what we decide to do with Jesus, the Son, who was born in the manger of Bethlehem--accept Him or reject Him. God says we must know his Son. Jesus tells us in the Gospel that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the Way to Heaven, He is the Truth (the opposite of the lie which is Satan), and the only Life that I want to experience here on Earth and in Heaven! Please remember to put Jesus first this CHRISTmas! If we put Him first, we will be able to do as Scrooge said: "I will honor Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year!" The spirit of Christmas is Christ, and He should be in our hearts all of the time--not just for a few weeks in December! God bless you and may your CHRISTmas be merry and bright and very, very blessed!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy, Busy!

I thought I was going to have more time after the decorating was completed and the tours started. Think again, Janie! How we three keep so busy I'll never know. Yes, we have been having tours, but we have had lots of other things going on, too. On Tuesday, October 13, I had the cataract in my right eye removed. We spent two nights in Corpus Christi at the Residence Inn so that we wouldn't have to get up so early to be at the Coastal Bend Surgical Center at 7:00 a.m. We were back at the Residence Inn by 10:00! Esther and I had gone down to the breakfast room at 6:25 that morning to get breakfast items like scrambled eggs, sausage, tortillas, fruit, etc. We took it back to our two bedroom suite and put it in the refrigerator. When we returned after the surgery we had a very nice breakfast to warm up in the microwave. We rested until about 4:00 that afternoon, got up watched t.v. , and then at 5:30 went down to the breakfast room again. They serve "supper" there on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Again, we took the food back to our suite, where we enjoyed our hamburgers and chips. The next morning I had to be in Dr. Hunsaker's office at 8:00 for a post-op check-up. Everything looked good, so we were able to head for home. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world with my "new eye." Colors are so brilliant, and I can see details that, with my poor eye-sight since childhood, I have probably never seen before. It's wonderful!! Well, it's wonderful except for a couple of things. I do have wrinkles, and now I can see the dust that before I could ignore. Praise the Lord for wonderful doctors and for procedures that make our lives so wonderful!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We Made It!

Well, we made it. Saturday afternoon at 1:00 our first group arrived, and we had the house completely decorated and clean!! We were tired, but the reaction of this group to all of our new themes was worth all of the work. The same group has been first for about 22 years, so needless to say, we have become very good friends. We always call this first tour that we do for them our "dress rehearsal." It was successful, so we are ready for the months ahead. If you have not already called to make your reservations, please do so soon. If you just want to shop at Santa's Texas Workshop, please call to make an appointment.

Friday, September 25, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas (in September, that is!)

I wanted to write about our opening of the 2009 Christmas season tomorrow, and just when I was trying to think of what to say, we received this e-mail message from our wonderful first cousin, Mickey, who lives in California. What she says just about sums it up. Yes, we have worked very hard for the past eight weeks preparing the Christmas House for this new season, and yes, as we go to bed tonight, we have a very satisfied feeling that, even at our ages, we have done it again for the 24th year. Our first tour is at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon, and I have to admit that we have a few small details and some housecleaning to finish up. But, when 1:00 gets here, we will be all smiles as we greet our guests. Maybe they won't be able to tell how late we stayed up! Here is Mickey's message: My Dearest Cousins, Well, you are now at the 11th hour of your preparations for your 2009 Christmas Season and you have been on my mind all week. I know this will be a wonderful Christmas season for all who attend and for each of you. Oh, I can't wait to see what you've come up with this year. Please take time to rest when you can. I'm sure that as you place your heads on your pillows tonight you will be exhausted, but have a feeling of wonder as it has all come together once again. And I'm sure that those planning to take the first tour of 2009 tomorrow are as excited as every little kid is on Christmas morning. My love and thoughts are with you all -- you and your guests tomorrow. Have a wonderful 2009 Christmas Season and may God bless you as you share your love for Him with all who tour the Christmas House. My thoughts and prayers are with you tonight and always. Our love, Mickey and family

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Aftermath

We think that everything has been repaired now. The last repairman finished this morning after arriving at 7:20 a.m. on his way to another job. I do have to share a funny thing with you. You might remember that in my last blog, I talked about being tied down to the fax phone since we were able to forward all 325-2068 incoming calls to our fax line 325-1969. It was only 24 hours later that it hit me! DUH! HIT MY FOREHEAD WITH OPEN HAND! All I had to do was disconnect the cordless phone base from the 2068 line and plug it into the 1969 line. VOILA! We had our cordless phone back. It does take a while, but my brain does work. So, things are back to normal--anyway, they are back to our normal which usually isn't other people's normal. We do all have our own unique lives, don't we? God tells us to give thanks in everything. We can do that, because He takes care of us through it all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Little Lightning Goes a Long Way!

Wow, what a twenty-four hours we've had! At about 4:00 p.m. on Sept. 11, a thunderstorm rolled in from the northeast. I don't think I have ever heard thunder that loud--it was right over us. At one point, we were having lightning and thunder at the same time, and it sounded like it was in the house with us. Of course, our electricity went out, but fortunately we have a generator that came on automatically. After the storm passed, we called AEP to report the electrical outage. We also called two of our cousins who live within a mile of us and found that they, too, were without power.
Well, with our generator, we were able to resume our normal activities. That means we went back to decorating the house. Around 8:00 p.m. Dorothy discovered that we didn't have any water. Esther and I went out to check the pump, but, of course, there was nothing we could do except call Page Waterwell Service in Alice. Mr. Page assured us that he would have some one out here first thing the next morning.
This morning, we got up and discovered that our telephone is out of service. However, we have a second phone line that we had put in about 8 years ago when the only internet connection we could get was dial-up. We now have our fax machine hooked up to it. When I checked it for a dial tone, I found that it was working. So, I called the phone company to report our problem and found that they could forward all of our phone calls to the fax machine phone. Wow, are we ever used to a portable phone! The fax phone is attached to the machine, and it's hard to talk to people when you can't walk around to find a pencil, check the reservation book, or whatever. Thank goodness, though, that we have this second phone line, because the phone company said they have so many phone problems in our area that it may be Tuesday before they can get out here to fix it. You may ask why we don't just use our cell phone?? Well, we have to go outside to use it, as it doesn't work inside the house. It actually works best in the middle of our cow pens, but who wants to walk all the way out there just to use the phone!!
We thought that we'd now have breakfast and get started on the decorating. However, Dorothy opened the carport door at 6:15 to feed the cat, and we heard a loud explosion and then fire and sparks coming from the electric pole in front of our house. So then, I had to call AEP again to report this happening.
After breakfast, the waterwell repairman arrived. In no time at all he had the problem fixed. I can't begin to tell you the problem, but it was caused by the lightning strike.
An AEP repairman finally got here around 9:00 a.m. He checked things out and told us that the problem was more serious than he had thought. It seems that lightning had struck our transformer! He had to call for another truck and someone to help him, plus he had to go get a new transformer. So, they didn't get it fixed until after 1:00 p.m. We were supposed to go to Kingsville at 2:00, so that worked out great. BUT......our generator is supposed to go off automatically about 10 minutes after the power is restored, and you guessed it, our generator was still running an hour later. So, I called the technician who services our generator. He said that it should have gone off, so something was wrong. He is from the Rio Grande Valley, but he said he could come up to check it. We had to go to Kingsville, so he agreed to come at 7:00 tonight when we would be back. He did and found that the lightning strike caused something to malfunction. So, he turned it off manually. He's going to order the part and come back to fix it later. In the meantime, he taught me how to turn it on manually and then turn it off manually just in case we lose power again before he gets it fixed.
Now it is almost midnight and all is quiet. We actually got a little decorating done today. When you have days like these, you just have to praise the Lord and trust Him to take care of you. We thought about all of the damage that could have been done by a storm like that, and are so grateful that it was just "stuff" that could be repaired easily. There has been a little inconvenience, but that just makes us appreciate what we have and normally take for granted. It also reminds us of what our mother always said. When she was making plans to do something, she never did so with out saying, "If the Lord is willing, I will do it." So, if the Lord is willing, we'll go to church in the morning and then come home and finish decorating the living room.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sign Up and Follow

I hope to have more time soon to post to this blogspot. If you would like to follow and get notifcations via e-mail when a new post is available, go to the box in the top right hand corner of this site and click on "Follow." From there you can sign up. I'm signed up to follow the blogs of a friend and a cousin, so I know that it is safe to do so. Two weeks and two days... Yes, we're counting! September 26th is our opening date, and we're working hard to have everything decorated and ready. We hope that all of you who signed up for a newsletter while you were here last season have received them by now. They were mailed on Tuesday, Sept. 8. (Our parents were married on that date 83 years ago.) We're looking forward to seeing all of you at The Christmas House and Santa's Texas Workshop at some point during this 2009 Christmas season--Sept. 26, 2009 through March 31, 2010. Call to make your reservation. Also, remember that Santa's Texas Workshop will be open for shopping on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27th, from 1:30 to 5:30. Be among the first to see all of the new merchandise for this Christmas season. I think we have more than ever before, and every piece is unique and wonderful. Come and bring some friends. If you can't come at that time, call for an appointment. We're open year 'round for shopping.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Getting Ready for the 2009 Season

July 21, has arrived! That is the traditional date each summer when we officially begin decorating for the coming season. So, tomorrow will find us beginning that annual task.

We will be opening with our first tour on Saturday, Sept. 26th. It will be our 24th season to conduct public tours of our Christmas House. The store, Santa's Texas Workshop, will be open for shopping on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27th, from 1:30 to 6:00. No appointments are needed for shopping that afternoon.

You will be amazed at the new merchandise that is "in store" for you. Christmas seems to get better every year. Just when we think that the designers and artists have exhausted their creative limits, they come up with even more spectacularly beautiful Christmas decorations of all kinds.

Our store may not be the largest in size, but we certainly have a very large inventory of everything Christmas that will rival much larger stores. And 90% of it is brand new for the 2009 Christmas season. Also, if you are 60+ years old or if you are or have ever been employed by a public or private school, you get a 10% discount on purchases totalling $10.00 or more.

Keep in mind that the store is open after tours for those in the group who want to shop. Those not taking a tour can call and make an appointment to shop then. We also open the store at other times, but it is always by appointment. Please don't think you are bothering us if you call to make an appointment to shop. That is our business, and we love doing it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wonderful Vacation

We just returned last night from a month long vacation. Traveling via Amtrak, we made our way from San Antonio to Washington, D.C., with an overnight layover in New Orleans. We stayed a week in D.C., visiting the memorials and museums and seeing the sights. We rented a car on two different days and made trips to Charlottesville to visit Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson and to Alexandria to visit Mt. Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington. From there we traveled to Philadelphia where we rented a car and drove to Hershey, PA, undoubtedly the sweetest town in the U.S.A. After a two days there, we made our way back to Philadelphia through Lancaster County, and there in the little town of Paradise, we found a Christmas museum. This was so unexpected and will remain in our memories as one of the highlights of our trip. We spent three days in Philadelphia seeing all of the historical sights there, and then we traveled on to New York City where we spent six days. Our hotel was right in the midst of Times Square, and I have to admit that we three little country girls were quite impressed with the Big Apple! We went to four Broadway shows, had dinner at Tavern on the Green, and visited the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Ground Zero. We left New York City and on our way home, spent three days in Atlanta, Georgia. As many of you know, we sell Rhythm Clocks, and the Rhythm U.S.A. headquarters are located in Atlanta. We had a wonderful time visiting with them, and we even ordered some new clocks!! The other highlight of our time in Atlanta was attending a Brave's baseball game at Turner Field. On the trip home, we had another overnight layover in New Orleans. Since our train didn't leave the next morning until 11:55 a.m., we took a taxi from our hotel to the Cafe du Mond in the French Quarter and had beignets, coffee, and hot chocolate for breakfast! We got back into San Antonio at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 6th. We checked into the Rivercenter Marriott and were in bed by 3:39! The next morning (late), we got our car and headed home. Many thanks to the Cavender Cadillac dealership for keeping our car while we were on vacation. They do that for us every time we depart from San Antonio on our vacations, and we really appreciate it. We'll have a more detailed account of our trip in our newletter which will be published and sent out later this summer. Now we're home, and the work begins--for a little while anyway. We do still have a trip to San Antonio and Dallas coming up in about a week and a half. We will be hearing Il Divo in concert on June 20th in San Antonio, and then we'll go on to Dallas where we'll be attending the summer market.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Summer has arrived in South Texas

Our 2009 season is officially over. It ended on April 28, and now we can begin the task of getting ready for next season which will open on Sept. 26, 2009. But first we will take a little time off for some rest and relaxation.
If for some reason you weren't able to come during the 2008 Christmas season, but you would like to receive our newsletter in August, please send an e-mail to minten@granderiver.net requesting one, and we'll put you on that one-time mailing list.
May is in full force here in South Texas. Summer is, too. It was over 100 degrees yesterday, and got up to 97 today. As always happens in South Texas, we went directly from winter to summer. There was no spring at all to speak of this year. We are in the midst of a really terrible drought, and there weren't any wildflowers. A few brave, pink primroses pushed their way up in our lawn and then just gave up. Please help us pray for rain.
God bless each of you who read this. Have a wonderful summer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy and Blessed Easter

My, how time is flying. It's already April 9th, and the Christmas season here at The Christmas House is drawing to a close at the end of this month. There is still time to book a tour so you can see this season's decorations.

After we close, what we've done this season will never be seen again, because we undecorate totally and start all over with new themes and decorations later in the summer.

Our cousin, Mickey, was here for five days, and we packed about ten days worth of activities into half that amount of time. We really had lots of fun and spent time talking about what we want to do the next time she comes to see us.

We pray that you will have a wonderful Easter with your families and friends. Keep in mind that Easter, like Christmas, is all about Jesus. Praise God that He loves each of us so much that He was willing to give His only begotten Son so that we could have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Of course, we must have a personal relationship with Jesus, believing in Him and trusting Him as our Savior, in order to qualify for that eternal reward. That is God's desire for each of us.

Happy and blessed Easter to each of you who read this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If you are looking for the perfect Christmas gift, look no further. It was bought and paid for over two thousand years ago by God, and He has offered the Gift to anyone who is willing to accept it. Jesus is the true and perfect Gift.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Home Again and Ready to Work!

Greetings! The reason I have not posted a blog in so long is because we have been to Dallas, and that means we have been ordering merchandise for the 2009 Christmas season. Every year as we prepare to attend market we wonder what the designers could possibly come up with that is new and fresh. And, every year we are delighted to find beautiful, new things that get us excited about the next Christmas! This year was no exception, so begin to make your plans to come see us for the 2009 season. If the Lord is willing, we'll be opening on September 26, 2009.
We really packed a lot of activity into our time off. Saturday, March 7th, found us doing two tours; one at 9:00 a.m. and the other at 1:00 p.m. On Friday, we had packed and prepared to be gone from here for a week and a half. So, after the p.m. tour on Saturday, we packed the car and then drove to Corpus Christi to attend the 75th birthday party of two very good friends who are twin sisters. After the party, we drove to San Antonio where we spent the night (well, what was left of it!), and then on Sunday we drove to Plano (just north of Dallas) where we stayed for the night. The next day, we drove a few miles farther to McKinney where we visited friends who used to live in Premont.
That afternoon we made our way back to Dallas where we spent the next week. Now we are home and ready to begin doing tours of The Christmas House once again. That goes on until the end of April, so it's not too late to call and make a reservation.
God has been so good to us, and we praise Him for all the blessings He has bestowed on us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Still Doing Christmas

My second blog!! Wow, I'm learning to do this, and it's fun. On September 20, 2008, we opened The Christmas House for our 23rd Christmas season. It has been a great season and is not over with yet. We will be open for tours until the end of April, so if you haven't been on a tour this season, it's not too late. Give us a call at 1-800-276-4339 or 361-325-2068 to make a reservation. At Santa's Texas Workshop, our 1/2 price sale is still in effect, too. Ninety-nine percent of our merchandise is 1/2 off the marked price. If you would like to shop, please call one of the numbers above to make an appointment.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Greetings

Greetings from Santa's Texas Workshop where it is Christmas every day of the year. I am just getting started in the world of blogging, and I hope this is going to work. If it does, you can look for periodic updates from us.