1. It’s Christmas Eve and dinner is done, the presents are wrapped and the girls have just gone to bed. I’ve got Christmas tunes playing on the iPad and taking care of some last minute things. This is one of my favorite times at Christmas. We just finished a wonderful dinner as a family, with good conversation and food. I love the house at this time. It’s relatively quiet, the Christmas lights are still glowing and the excitement of Christmas morning is around the corner. I’m ready.

2. Finally went to see the new 007 movie this week. I’d say its pretty good, a little slow early on but it finishes with lots of action, chases and killing. That’s what James Bond is about! I’ll give it a four out of five.

3. I’m feeling pretty good about my knee surgeries after eight and four weeks respectively. Think the progress is good and I’m going mostly pain free right now on both knees. The bills though are a mess. I paid for most of it up front but now the insurance stuff is coming in, surgery and doctor statements and all of them have unknown codes and secret handshake stuff that is going to take a while to decipher.

4. One of the most satisfying phases of parenting is happening for Julie and I right now. That’s the part where you get to see your kids make giant strides in self reliance, good choices, self discipline and self motivation. My girls are both doing so well in college, not only making high grades, but making great decisions in choosing friends, choosing directions dn doing what it takes to get to the right place. I’m a proud parent.

5. Finally, Merry Christmas!

1.The cold weather of winter finally arrived today.  We went from the low 80’s on Sunday to the mid 40’s on Monday.  And the wind is blowing.  It actually feels a bit like Christmas here in Spring, TX.

2. Update on last week’s blog: There is no iPhone 5 on my desk today.  I’m not up for renewal yet, but the blessing is that a kiosk in the mall replaces screens.  So I have a new glass on my phone for a fraction of the price of a new phone. 🙂  And for just a moment I remembered what it was like to have no smudges on my phone.

3. Switched my energy plan today for the house.  One of the things I have discovered in the last few years is that it pays to switch your energy plan.  I try to pick a 6 month plan, so I only have to look at it twice a year.  I also pick a plan with electronic billing, that lowers the cost significantly.  With a new A/C and staying up to date on a good rate plan we have lowered our electricity bill by 50%.  Check out www.powertochoose.com to see what rates you could get.  This is not a paid endorsement.

4. There are 15 shopping days til Christmas.  Are you ready?  Amazingly, I am almost done with Christmas shopping.  Julie and I have done much of ours early and online.  Julie has become an online shopping maniac.  It seems like everyday we get something else in the mail.  You should know that in the past I have not been this efficient.  In fact I have done a lot of shopping on December 24th.  So the fact that I am almost done is an anomaly and it should not be thought that it will become a trend for the future.

5. Been praying a lot this past week about our church.  I’m really looking forward to 2013 and the things God is going to do at Spring Creek.  I think there are many things on the horizon that point to a great year.  One thing that really encourages me is that several people I have talked to agree that we need to spend more time praying.  I think the spiritual hunger and desire to see God at work is a precursor to His activity.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of church that we forget to be spiritually hungry.  A time of refreshing is coming.  Pray for revival.

1. Recovery is going well with my surgically repaired left knee.  When I visited the doc last week for my post op he had pictures of the inside of my knee, just like he had for the right knee.  There were three large loose pieces of cartilage floating around and lots of other stuff that needed to be cleaned up.  Again, I’m bowlegged so the inside of the knee was bad, but the outside looked like new.  The other interesting thing was the last picture.  There were several loose pieces of cartilage, maybe 5 or 6 that came out of my knee immediately as they were draining the fluid.  Pretty bad, but all better now.

2. The Fiscal Cliff is all over the news this week.  Negotiations are happening, they aren’t happening.  The President has his plan, the Republicans have their plan.  Neither plan is close to acceptable to the other.  Every talking head has an opinion about it and a reason why they are right.  Here is my solution to the impasse.  Put them all in a room and tell them to figure it out before they can leave (no bathroom breaks either).  Tell them to only give us numbers for the next fiscal year, not 10 years.  No Congress passes a 10 year budget or is bound to a prior 10 year projection. They just do that so they can claim bigger cuts than reality.  Put a gag order on all those who are really making the decisions.  If you break the gag order, the other side gets one thing they want, no negotiations.  We’re tired of the posturing and politicking, we just finished a 2 year presidential campaign after all.

3. I also think the Congress and President should present a budget that looks much more like real budgets.  Lets give them no more than 10 categories of expenditures.  Each year they should show the projected revenue for the year and then the expenses with a total for each category.  Then compare that to previous years.  With built in increases each year, they will all take credit for cuts that look more like reduced increases in spending.  I think the American people deserve to see the raw numbers.  They don’t have to break down to great depth, but major categories help us understand what’s going on.

4. Christmas is only three weeks away!  That’s way too close!  Most of my shopping is actually done, because we bought some things early and most of it online.  But there are no decorations up at my house.  With the surgery last week I haven’t been able to get up to the roof to put on lights and we are never early buying our tree.  We are real tree people.  I grew up with allergies and so had to have artificial trees, but since I’ve gotten married Julie always wants a real tree and my allergies have never been affected #Godblessedme.  My plan is to get after all it this weekend.  Hopefully we’ll have some good weather and by the time the girls come home for Christmas the house will be decorated.

5. Dropped by phone today. 🙁  That’s usually not a big deal because I have a rubber case for it.  But today, as I was getting into my truck, I somehow squeezed my phone and it slipped out of the case and fell to the concrete.  The face is shattered.  So later I’m heading to the mall to see about getting a new glass on the face or to see if I qualify for an upgrade.  Is there an iPhone 5 in my future?