Friday, December 25, 2009

Margaret and the Choir

There was a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church last night.  One of the highlights was my first opportunity to hear Margaret and our recently formed church choir.

l to r back row: Sharon Daniels; Estelle Zane; Joyce Collier; and Billy Kinsey
front row: Genevieve Yost; Margaret; and Marnie Kinsey

Sharon Cahall, choir director.  David Kinsey on piano in the background.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Snowed In

We had expected to spend Friday night in Lansdale, PA with our friends Sam & Alice Rittenhouse.  That turned into three nights when a snow storm dumped about 12 inches of snow in Lansdale.  It snowed from Saturday morning through early Sunday morning.

Alice and Sam
We were blessed by their hospitality, they made us feel like family. Thank you Sam & Alice!

Margaret took a number of photos after the storm.  You can view a slide show of them here.

The storm dumped twice as much snow at our home in Smyrna, De – 24 inches. Margaret stayed in touch by phone with our neighbor who kept telling us, “Don’t come back yet.”  It was Monday before the streets in our development where plowed but there was still a lot of snow between the road and our front door.  Monday afternoon we decided to go home after our friend Jim Tracy offered to meet us there and help us get into the house.  On the way back we got a call that two other young men from church were also going to come by and help did us out.

All of the roads on the ride home were in pretty good shape.  This was our last turn off of the main highways toward home.

The street into our development.

Margaret talking to Corey Clampitt, on the right, and his son Tony (in red).
Home at last!  Tony and Corey had much of our parking spot done by the time we arrived.

You can see there is still a lot of snow between them and our front door.

Our shovels are in the shed on the left with a snow drift half-way up the door.  I don’t think we’re going to get to them soon!

Jim Tracy showed up and helped finish from our sidewalk to the front door.

Jim brought his dog Baby Girl with him. Margaret helped out by holding her leash.  That worked fine until Baby Girl decided she wanted to explore the show drifts and Margaret tried to keep up with her.

Corey taking a well earned break while Tony takes a turn with their large snow scoop.

Jim, Corey and Tony finishing the last bit up to our front door.

What wonderful unplanned blessings we have enjoyed from our Father during this event: an extended time of fellowship with good friends, Sam & Alice; and the Lord sending us three young men from church at just the right time so we could get back into our home. God is so good to us. PTL!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Bucks-Montgomery 2009 Christmas Breakfast

Friday afternoon, 12/18/09, we drove to Lansdale, PA to spend the night with our friends Sam & Alice Rittenhouse. We did that so we would already be in the area to attend the TFC Bucks-Montgomery Chapter 2009 Christmas Buffet the following morning.

At the lower left is Alice Rittenhouse, next to her is her sister May, and then Margaret.
The buffet is held on the mezzanine of Henning’s Market.

The view from the other end of the room.

Folks queued up for the buffet

Christmas music was provided by the praise band from a local church.

After the entertainment Bunny O’Hare and Dwayne Johnson gave TFC ministry updates.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Ice Show

We went on another date this afternoon.  This time it was to the Center Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fair grounds in Harrington, DE to see the 2009 Christmas Ice Show.

The main entrance brings you into this area which includes a store and snack bar

It is a full-size rink that is also used for ice hockey

Just a few of the people who were there.  Margaret is seated in the middle front behind the man with the yellow sleeve jacket.  We were only about 10 ft from the edge of the rink.

Santa riding on the Zamboni.  During the show’s intermission he was rink-side giving candy canes to the kids.

Sitting in a room with a lot of ice means it is COLD.

Margaret also brought two throws to fold up and make seat cushions for us

The show was based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.  This is a brief clip of the scene with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim

Before the intermission there were performances by singles and pairs skaters who had competed at the national and international level.  Shown here is an excerpt of Cassandra Jeandell and Damian Dodge. They are alternates to the 2010 US Nationals competition.

Margaret loves figure skating and we go to events whenever we can.  Both of us enjoy watching the youngsters in these local shows.  The little ones are so precious!  There are also two rinks in Newark, DE plus another in Wilmington, DE.  Now that we are retired we can attend more of the shows.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A Time for Christmas

Margaret and I went on a date tonight to see the 25th Annual Christmas Production at Calvary Assembly of God Church in Dover, DE.  This year’s play was A Time for Christmas.

The picture quality is not great as we were sitting back quite a way from the stage.  We arrived a half-hour before the curtain and the place was already mostly full.  We thoroughly enjoyed the performance.  In all the years we have lived in the area this is the first year we were able to attend because we are not on the chapel.

The play continues through this week.  You can get the times at the church’s website.  If you live in the area, I encourage you to go to one of the performances.  There is no charge to attend.  The production is a gift from the church to the community.  Plan on arriving early!

The cast received a standing ovation at the end.

What a wonderful evening out with my best girl!

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

1st Christmas Decoration at Home

Our primary Christmas decorations at home are centered around the front window in our living room.  Margaret, with some help from me, has been working on that area the past few days.  (Margaret is the resident home decorator!)

This is the view from inside.  The platform, skirt, train set, and tree stand were put together by our friend Ron Jones and given to us, along with the tree, for Christmas last year.  This year we added the country church as our first building under the tree.  The red clothed dolls on either side of the tree belonged to my mother.  They are animated, the arms and heads move back and forth slowly.  The small doll in the wicker stroller on the lower left was a gift to my mother when she was a little girl.

Here is the view from outside.  You can see the train below the tree in this picture.  The train runs only occasionally when we manually turn it on.  Everything else stays on all the time.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas at Macy’s in Philadelphia

This morning Margaret and I left early on a date.  We drove to Newark, DE and boarded a train to downtown Philadelphia to visit Macy’s store and see their Christmas displays.


Riding the train to/from is so much nicer than driving and paying to park.  We did not have to change trains and there is a train station only a block from the store.

We first checked out some of the window displays


This large display was just inside one of the store entrances

This picture is for our daughter Sheri, who loves all things purple

There is a light show every hour followed by a selection played on their pipe organ.  This is a brief excerpt.

One of the nicest Christmas displays was a tour of “Dickens’ London”, a series of animated figures and recordings in various scenes from the story A Christmas Carol.  This is the first scene which depicts Dickens introducing the tour.  Below are pictures of just a few of the scenes.

The young girl on the right was one of the visitors taking the tour.  These were large displays, not small dioramas.

The poulterer’s shop.

Tiny Tim

Margaret checking out Scrooge’s office

Marley’s ghost visiting Scrooge. Other ghosts and chains are suspended from the ceiling above where I am standing.

The entrance to Fezziwig’s. Note Mr. Fezziwig on the right ringing the bell to begin the festivities.

Young Scrooge and Belle

Dinner at the Cratchit home

Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas future.

We had a great date.  It was nice to relax riding the train home, especially when it began to rain during the ride.

Clothes Problems

I put on a pair of dress slacks to wear to the chapel and discovered a problem.

I think they are a little bit too large now?

Time to get some new dress slacks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Dinner

Today Margaret and I had our Thanksgiving meal. I took her on a date. She is the love of my life and deserves to be spoiled much more often. We went to the DuPont Country Club outside of Wilmington, DE.

Main entrance to the club

Once inside the doors, we were met by a uniformed man who asked our names and escorted us to the dinning room.

About half of the tables were empty for our seating time. I made our reservations only a few days ago and the only seating available was an early one. That worked for us as we’re not much on being out late anyway.

The first course was a scrumptious pumpkin soup followed by salads.

Margaret's entre
Margaret’s entree was rack of lamb.

No way was I going to have turkey! I had a Filet Mignon and mashed potatoes.

Desert was two different small chocolate parfait, one white and one dark chocolate, plus a small wedge of pastry covered with fresh berries for each of us. It was a delicious meal and awesome service by the Club staff.

An ice sculpture located at the dinning room entrance.

Margaret wanted a picture of each of us while we were all dressed up. Doesn’t she look great?

And then there is this ugly guy! This jacket is actually too big for me now. I have another 90 pounds to lose.

I don’t think I was using wisdom when I scheduled my November weigh-in at the doctor’s. It is tomorrow morning! Oops. After the meal last Saturday and the one today I may only break even on weight loss this month.

In His name,
Chaplain Sam Houchins