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Christmas Joy Is Found in Traditions Both Old And New
C hristmas came a little early for us this year. Many of you don’t know that Freckles has been struggling for the past few weeks. He’s been through a lot in his life — the big goofball has an aluminum leg. We took him into the vet a couple of weeks ago, and they were expecting him to barely make it through the doors. Everyone who works there assumed it would be his last visit and that we’d be putting him down. Instead, he walked in and made them trim his toenails. It took three of them alternating shifts to do it, and I think he made it tough for them because the doctor said he was fat. I informed the doctor that Freckles was just big-boned. After he received medication to help with the pain, we were able to take him to the mountains in the back of “Missy” (my Mini Cooper). In spite of everything, we’re going to enjoy all the time we get with him. He turns 13 in January, and who knows? Maybe he’ll surprise us all and make it to 14 or beyond. Around this time of year, I often think about what Christmas is like for other people. I love turning on Christmas music and going through the nostalgic journey of my childhood and wonder if others do the same. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,”“Jingle Bells,” and all the classics take me back to a simpler time with my family. When I hear those carols, I can see my parents and everyone gathering to have a good time. Christmas was always fantastic in our home, but not in the way that others might think. We didn’t have a lot growing up, and that made the holidays a little more special. I got shoes or clothes for presents, but since we didn’t get much throughout the year, it was always exciting to go shopping.
Our tree went up at Thanksgiving, but we didn’t have one like you see today. Those of you who grew up in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s might remember those silver pom-pom-looking trees. We hung bubble lights around the tree, and I loved to lie under the tree and watch the lights change colors. Those lights would get so hot that I’m surprised we didn’t burn the house down, but as a kid, you’re not concerned with that. You’re just caught up in the wonderment of the holidays. Family dynamics tend to change as we grow older, and that’s never more evident than during the holidays. My family is scattered about, and because of that, we don’t celebrate like we used to. Freckles can’t travel too far. My brother lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and has grandkids. My son lives about an hour and a half away. Everyone created their family traditions and made new memories, but these changes haven’t been negative. Sometimes it means Family dynamics tend to change as we grow older, and that’s never more evident than during the holidays.
we just have to let go and celebrate the fact that our families are happy. Christmas is about celebrating joy, and that starts with the birth of Jesus. I think it’s always important to remember that, so no matter how far away from family I might be, I find peace in the joy that God brings.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! It’s a perfect way to end the year, and I’m so thankful to have shared in it with you through this newsletter. Here’s to 2019!
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A Member of the Family Health Coverage for Furry Companions
The close bond that humans form with their pets can be mystifying to those who proclaim they are not “pet people.” A dog given a spot on the bed or a cat given specialty food might seem extravagant to some, but a glance back in time shows that this close companionship developed long ago. Ancient Egyptians were sometimes mummified with their feline or canine companions, and when given the choice between losing a battle or harming cats, Egyptians chose a loss to their Persian adversaries rather than attacking soldiers who’d strategically strapped felines to their bodies. A special relationship developed between humans and their animals during the process of domestication, and pets earned their proverbial place at the table. For some pet parents, this close bond makes insurance coverage for their fur babies a no-brainer. Some employers are even offering it as an employment benefit. When it comes to caring for our furry companions, veterinarian Jean Maixner points out that having pet insurance can keep families from having to make a gut-wrenching decision when a pet gets sick or hurt. “If you get the right policy, it can be an asset to the health
care of that pet and have a significant impact on the bill that results from an emergency visit,” Maixner says.
As with human health insurance, pet health insurance policies vary. A higher deductible usually means paying a lower monthly rate. You can find plans that cover accidents and illnesses, and some plans even cover routine care, like vaccines. In an assessment of policies, Consumer Reports found that for a relatively healthy pet, most policies actually cost more than they would ultimately pay out. However, they also found that for a pet that develops a serious illness or condition, many pet insurance policies will indeed pay out more than what they cost. Talk with your vet to see if there are any conditions your pet is prone to. Consumer Reports also recommends reading all the fine print when looking at plans to make sure you understand what will be covered. For many people, pet insurance offers peace of mind that their companion will be protected. As Herb Weisbaum, consumer advisor for NBC News, says, “If you buy pet insurance and don’t use it, consider yourself lucky.”
What Makes a Home?
The Hearts That Fill It
It’s not the sound of the screen door as it shuts or the smell of a freshly cooked meal filling the halls. It’s not the comfortable amenities you use to ease the tension from your shoulders or the landscape that you admire as you sip your coffee. It’s not the time you fixed the leaking faucet or when you nearly broke your neck putting up Christmas lights for the first time. What makes a home is the hearts that fill it. Nothing is stronger than the bonds a family shares, and a home is the place to forge those bonds. If you’ve ever crouched down to your knees
with your dad or the last recipe your mom taught you. Many of life’s triumphs and family interactions happen on those premises, and nothing else.
Many Americans look at their houses as symbols of success, but your neighbor’s three-car garage doesn’t make them a better parent because yours is just a two-car. Your sister’s 3-acre lot doesn’t mean she treats others with more respect because yours is a half-acre lot. Your boss doesn’t have a greater effect on the community because his furniture is custom and yours is hand-me-down from your parents. What truly matters in a home is how much love and care you provide to those who dwell there.
There is nothing more significant in life than a place to call home. It’s a place where stress melts away and where you can have the freedom to
develop with love and support. This holiday season, I hope that everyone can look at their residence and see past the dated fixtures or the old refrigerator, because beyond the discontent resides peace, and that’s what the holidays are about.
to receive a hug from a child, you know that a house is more than just studs and plywood with a sturdy frame. Think about the first lawn you mowed
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Inside the New Shipping Container Trend
WOULD YOU BUILD ONE OF THESE?
Why build a home out of wood when you can use steel? The shipping container movement is in full swing, with retail giant Home Depot offering living quarters crafted from these shells of metal. While it might sound a little odd, many builders looking to save on the cost of raw materials are using this new method to provide genuinely eye- catching spaces.
www.trenir.com Photography by Mito Covarrubias
Businesses transporting products to another country by waterway will often send their items in what is known as “one-use” containers. These steel boxes are used for one trip and then taken out of rotation. With an estimated 14 million shipping containers around the world no longer in service, repurposing these crates can be very appealing to the cost-effective builder. As the tiny house movement expands, homes constructed from shipping containers continue to increase in popularity. With costs ranging from $1,000 for a 20-foot container to $3,000 for a 40-foot vessel, the price of raw materials offers savings for those looking to build something. With just a little creativity inside, a formerly dull rectangle used to ship toys can become your dream home. Houses aren’t the only uses for this new trend. Backyard bars, sheds, workshops, garages, and even pools can be made from shipping containers. If you have a simple need, such as a workout room, a little DIY skill is all you need to turn a shipping container into a private sanctuary. With a wide array of uses and plenty of supply, it’s no wonder the demand for these crates is increasing. If you’re looking to start your next project this winter, reach out to me to see if a renovation loan is the right place to start.
It is time for N.O.E.L. at the Denver Fire Department! We have some families who need help this Christmas Season. If you are willing to help, please click the DONATE button on our Facebook page. In addition to financial support, we will accept new and unwrapped toys Dec. 1 through Dec. 21 to be distributed to children here in Denver, NC. Items or donations can be dropped at any of the following three Denver Fire Stations:
3956 Hwy 16 North or 7748 Tree Farm Lane or 6625 Kidville Road
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The Joys of Christmas
A Look at Health Insurance for Pets A House Is a Home
Homes for Heroes The Shipping Container Movement
Holiday Decoration Tours
Christmas Tours Get Away and Be Festive This Holiday Season
There’s nothing quite like the magical lights of the holiday season, and some destinations in the U.S. have perfected the craft of holiday decoration. If you’re looking to get away this December and still engage in seasonal festivities, add one of these places to your must-visit list. New York City’s Rockefeller Center NewYork City is an iconic location for Christmastime. The scene is like a Hallmark card: Ice-skating lovers whiz past miles of twinkling lights underneath an exceptionally tall and amply decorated tree. The tree is specially selected by Rockefeller Center’s landscaping crews, who scout out trees years in advance. It remains lit from November to early January, so you have plenty of time to check it out. Ranch Christmas in Jackson, Wyoming Jackson, Wyoming, takes its frontier culture to the next level during the Christmas season. All year, the city proudly displays four elk antler arches, but around the holidays, they are lit up with white string lights and flanked by snow. The Christmas decorations and lights surrounding the archway make for aWestern-themed holiday pulled right out of a JohnWayne classic. For
holiday admirers looking for a unique spin, Jackson has you covered.
Yearly Yuletide in Santa Claus, Indiana This one’s for the Christmas lover. If you can’t make it out to Santa Claus, Indiana, this holiday season, you can still celebrate Christmas in this tiny Midwestern town in January, June, or even October. Embracing its unique name, the town boasts a museum, holiday shopping center, and a Christmas theme park. In a moving tribute, the town’s residents also write responses to children’s letters to Kris Kringle himself. It’s impossible to avoid holiday cheer in this town. Disney World’s Christmas Magic What better place to celebrate the most magical time of the year than in the most magical place on Earth? Walt Disney World’s halls are decked to the max with a parade, gingerbread homes, strings of lights, and festive parties. Plus, costs to visit DisneyWorld can be cheaper during the Christmas season, so keep an eye out for a vacation steal.
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