Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scripture for the New Year and Some Thoughts

I was reading the Scripture of the day on my desktop (I love Windows Vista) and I thought that I should share it with you. Of course, I would love to share everything I read with you, but I don't have that much time to post it all! =0) Anyway, the Scripture comes from Isaiah 43.16 - 19 (funny, huh?):

This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

It's funny how this verse just showed up on the screen this morning. I don't know about you, but the bathroom is a place where I can think. More specifically, the shower (no wonder I can't seem to get out of there)! =0) I don't know, maybe it's the calming sound of the water or just the fact there are no distractions, but my mind just seems to wake up in the shower. Anyway, I just started thinking about all that I have to be grateful for and how God's plans have unfolded in "my" life (obviously, "my life is shared with others and theirs are shared with mine - not just my life). I thought about all the plans I had for my future and how they aren't completely as I had imagined.

Then, I read this morning's verse.

It just made me think of all the things I had planned for my life - you know, my ideas for how I wanted things to go based on what God was telling me. Obviously, things aren't quite how I had planned, but God had different ideas. No, I am not in ministry alongside of my family like I had planned, but God has a different plan. I am still in ministry, just not with my original plan. I am not in China or Hong Kong, or some other place in Southeast Asia, but in Florida . . . of all places! =0) I am not in Zambia. I only have one child. I cannot adopt the beautiful Chinese little girl like I had dreamed of. God has different ideas.

It's not that God doesn't want me to do those things - I know He does. Just not the way I had planned and not in my timing. Frustrating to find out that things don't happen quite our way, isn't it? =0) Funny thing is, it is never about us - there's a bigger plan than we can see, or maybe it's bigger than we want to see.

When Isaiah was born, I also had plans for him. Nothing I would consider being "written in stone," but I had "dreams" for him. The usual boy dreams for him, the dreams for a child without systemic mastocytosis and without severe food and environmental allergies. Dreams for cool birthday cakes and pizza parties, trips to buy ice cream in an ice cream shop . . . "normal" food. Of course, that's not the way things are - Isaiah can't even be in the same room when you open a bag of cheese popcorn. No "normal" pizza parties with that "perfect" store-bought cake - even going to someone else's party is a scary experience that makes me (and just about everyone else) stand ready to act for the "just-in-case" incidents. No group gatherings are easy - there's planning as to what Isaiah will have to eat, when to cook it, and how to keep him away from the others until hands are washed, etc.

I can't say that I have ever had to use an Epi for myself. I don't have one even prescribed to me and I have never anaphylaxed. Isaiah, on the other hand, has 6 of the things, has anaphylaxed around 15 times since he was born. The scary thing is that one Epi may not be enough to stop the reaction (hence the 6 Epis).

I have come to understand "normal" isn't normal and "perfect" on this earth isn't the idealistic perfect. The way things are right now are normal and Isaiah is his own form of "perfection." Our normal pizza is cheese-less with no wheat, soy, eggs . . . no milk - and it is "perfect." Our normal cake is the one I have to make for Isaiah because no store carries anything for him - and it is "perfect." Our cookies aren't store-bought and neither are the majority of our mixes, but they are still "perfect". There is no fast-food, no quick-fix food. That's our normal and our "perfect." It's not a bad thing and I am at peace with that. Please, know that I am not complaining - I wouldn't change it for the world.

Yes, I want to see my little boy healed and not have to worry about what the next episode of anaphylaxis may bring. I don't like to keep count of how many episodes he has in a year and I don't like the feeling that comes when you realize the "year" is not even close to being over with and he's just had his 4th or 5th reaction . . . leaving you to wonder if the 4 to 5 times a year will turn in to 5 to 6. The same with the developmental delays and the looming possibility of a diagnosis of yet another syndrome (and still the question exists of the masto affecting his brain and development). Of course I pray for him to be healed and I want others to pray for him as well. I still hope and believe for Isaiah's healing because I know God can. I am not accepting and welcoming this disease, but I am not resisting what God wants. Does that make any sense? I love my son for who he is and not for who I want him to be.

For some reason, this is where God has us right now. Apparently, this is where God wants us to be. Not my choice, but His - I am starting to accept that and make it my own. So, I say, "okay," not understanding why, but not wanting to know why either. His will is enough explanation for me and I probably can't even handle the reasoning. I try not to worry because I know God has Isaiah's best interests in mind as well.

I do my part and protect my baby as much as I can because he cannot speak for himself . . . yet. I am a parent, it's my job to protect him from things that can harm him. It's my job to teach him so he can eventually protect himself. This little guy I prayed so long for - just to exist - is God's gift and answer to my prayers. God placed him in my care because He wanted to give me the responsibility of caring for him. I may not know why, but He does. God has bigger plans - better plans than I have ever dreamed of. "Not my will, Lord, but Yours."

There was a song on the radio that made me think . . . I know, what doesn't make me think, right? =0) It's by Francesca Batistelli, and it says something like, "I'm letting go of the life I've planned for me and my dreams. I'm losing control of my destiny." Basically, she's saying, "God I surrender to Your plans because mine aren't quite right." It's not my way, but His that counts.

As this new year begins, in all its uncertainty, I need to remember that God has plans for the way things should go. No, we aren't puppets - there is still free will. Yes, we can mess things up for ourselves . . . and others can "mess" things up for us as well (frustrating, that free will). =0) Relaxing in His will is difficult because we want so badly to make things our idealistic "normal" and "perfect," but His will is truly normal and perfect. Our "normal" and "perfect" actually takes away that free will - just think about it, my plan for things to go accordingly to my plan isn't necessarily the way someone else would have things go. Messy? Yup. Life is messy. It's not structured, at least not the way we would like it to be. It's not neat, but it's life. "Good" isn't necessarily "perfect" or "normal."

Sheesh, it's amazing how a shower and a verse can make you redefine the way you think!

In this new year, I hope that you will find peace in His will and never lose hope and faith in Him. May you rest in His arms and plans for you! Happy 2009!


Sheesh! 2008 has flown by!

Click to play 2008 has flown by!!!
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Recipe

Okay, so it's not that new, but I figured some of you might be interested in it. It's a recipe for laundry soap. Yeah, I know, it's not something you'd eat, but it can save you a little money. It's actually cheaper to make your own laundry soap . . . unless you have to use Vanicream, then it's only mildly cheaper. =0} Just kidding! =0)

It's great for people with skin sensitivities because you can use the soap your skin tolerates. Of course, letting you clothes go through an extra rinse cycle helps as well, but if you have super-sensitive skin (like Isaiah), the extra rinse is necessary. Vanicream works well and has no odor - your clothes smell fresh and clean (you can buy this from www.vanicream.com or from your local pharmacy). Ivory is okay, if you can tolerate the fragrance . . . Isaiah's skin doesn't. It also can have an odd odor after a bit. I really do not recommend using an olive oil-based soap (like Kiss My Face). It gets the job done, and your clothes feel soft, but it doesn't smell so good after a bit. In fact, it smells like B.O. - YUCK!!!

Okay, so the recipe. I have also included photos to accompany the process. =0)

You will need:

At least a 2 -3 gallon bucket with a lid (I found mine at Wal-Mart for less than $5)
1 Box of Borax
1 large box or bag of baking soda (Soda Ash or Washing Soda is better, but it's hard to find)
At least 1 bar of soap
Lots of water =0)
1 large pot - LARGE.



Ingredients:

1 bar of soap (grated)
6 cups of boiling water
1 to 2 cups of Borax (I don't suggest any more than 2 cups)
1 to 2 cups of Baking Soda or Soda Ash/Washing Soda
*6 cups of hot water*
4 cups of water - tap water is fine
1 gallon of water - again, tap is fine


*Preparation:*

Have the bucket prepared with 6 cups of boiling water (which will cool to hot water by the time you add the soap). Have this ready in case you have to add the soap because it is overflowing . . . read on, you'll find out why.


Directions:

1. Grate the soap. This is necessary because you'll be standing there forever waiting for it all to mix with the water. Grate the soap. =0) I have used the old-fashioned grater, but why kill your hands when you can use a food processor????


2. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Remove from the eye to let it (the eye) cool down a little. At this point turn down the heat to a Medium-Low heat. Dissolve the bar of soap in the hot water.



3. Return the pot to the heat once soap is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup of Borax. You can add more later if you'd like. Stir until borax is completely dissolved.



4. Remove the pot from the heat. No additional heating will be necessary at this point. Slowly add 1 cup of Baking Soda or Soda Ash (Washing Soda) - SLOWLY. You can add more if you'd like. At this point, you may notice the liquid expanding. It can make a mess, so have the bucket handy just in case. This hasn't happened with Ivory or the Kiss My Face soaps, but does happen with the Vanicream-Baking Soda combination. Boy, did I have a mess to clean up, and it's no little mess, either! =0)



5. Add the soap mixture to the bucket with 6 cups of the now-hot water. Stir. Add 4 cups plus 1 gallon of water. Stir.



7. Let set for 24 hours before first use.

You can use about 1 cup for a large load. Sometimes, I will use up to 1 1/2 cups depending on the load.

The laundry soap will look anywhere from a thick soupy liquid to a thin soapy mixture (depending on the soap you use).

Have fun!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I guess today is one of those days . . .

I have yet another prayer request - this time for Stellan. I do have a button for Stellan somewhere on my page. If you click on it, you'll be able to read all about little Stellan and his family. Stellan is a miracle - he wasn't supposed to be alive right now. But, God healed him of a heart defect and little Stellan was born a healthy baby. Stellan needs your prayers, again. Today, he was admitted to the hospital with RSV (a very serious virus for young babies). He hasn't been intubated yet, but he has stopped breathing a few times because his lungs are so inflamed. His heart is acting up again, but the doctors think that it's probably from the RSV and not from heart failure (like he had while in the womb).



For more updates, you can visit McMama's page at: http://www.mycharmingkids.net/ .

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Not Me! Monday





Even though it's one of those days, this is great therapy (thank you McMama)!

I did not let the fish tank continue to go uncleaned . . . and it is not clear! =0)

I did not let Isaiah wear pajamas all day on Christmas . . . I always dress my child. And I did not allow him to stay that way until Uncle Keith and Aunt Michele came (at 6pm) - that would be insane! What kind of a mother am I, anyway?


I did not allow my son to run around in the front yard with a shirt and his big boy underwear on. I mean, really. That's just inappropriate! Even if he had his pull-ups on under the underwear, that doesn't make them shorts!!! =0) (Yeah, those green things are actually Thomas underwear)

I am not going to make sugar cookies right now for my son who is begging for them. It's 9:21 right now . . . there is no way I am baking those things tonight!

(9:45) I did not mix up the cookies for my little man. They are not in the freezer firming up and I am not going to attempt to bake them tonight. . . . . =0)

Please continue to pray . . .

Quick update on Coleman: they are on their way back home! I don't know any other details, but at least they will be at home together instead of being in a hospital.

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for Emerson. She now has a fever and the doctors are unsure as to what is going on. Emerson is already on several strong antibiotics and they are unsure yet if she has sepsis again. You can read more at http://www.cotaforemersonw.com/node/35.



Also, please pray for Coleman - he was airlifted to another hospital because he was having trouble with speech and such. He has two new spots on his brain. To read more about Coleman, please visit http://www.carepages.com/carepages/ColemanScott. From a little that I do know, Coleman's twin brother, Caleb, is now with him. These two are a team and it is great to hear that he's right by Coleman's side.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My Isaiah . . . and My Parents =0)

Isaiah is having itching issues again. =0( The Prednisone isn't helping anymore. It cleared up the rashes (even those hard to get rid of patches on the soles of his feet), then, it seems like his body just got used to it. The rashes slowly started to come back and now he itches in the middle of the night . . . and all day. He's waking up in the middle of the night crying, too. He even has his first canker sore (probably from the Prednisone - it can do that). So, he hasn't been eating well, again.




He's taking it well, though. He still smiles throughout the day (even though he has moments of crankiness) and he continues to play, too. He's tired, but resting isn't an option (especially now that we have Spike, Elmo, and Thomas here to play with him)! =0) He is also into this globe - he says he's flying (Little Einsteins Globe - he loves it). =0) He has also been cooking in his kitchen: birthday cakes, pizzas, steaks, eggs, birthday cupcake snacks, cookies, soup - he has such an imagination! =0) Hmmmm, maybe one day he'll help me figure out these allergy recipes!




I should also mention that my Dad was up most of the night in pain. He wouldn't tell me what hurt (he was too groggy to speak much), but he just said he was hurting. So, I got out his new electric blanket, warmed it up for him, and covered him up. He slept a little, but now he's outside working like crazy - he's keeping his mind off the pain. You can tell he's not feeling well, though - he's pale and not himself. Yesterday, when his friend stopped by, he fell asleep during their "conversation." I feel so bad that nothing seems to relive his pain. And I found the thermostat back up to 80 . . . even with the blanket! =0) Between Isaiah and my dad, there's no temperature that works for the both of them! I was hoping the blanket would help with my dad so that the house could remain cooler . . . guess I was wrong. =0)




It was so good to hear my Dad laugh this past week. Isaiah and my Dad really get each other going! =0) They are definitely buddies. It has been cute to watch the two of them watch Christmas movies over the past 2 or 3 weeks. Of course, Isaiah will probably still want to watch those Christmas movies throughout the rest of the year as well, but it's still nice to see the two of them share a chair and be glued to the screen for a little bit. =0)




Since I am still writing =0), I figure that I should also mention that my Mom is feeling better as well. The antibiotic hasn't been bothering her quite as much and she has also adjusted to the antacid (Prilosec). The pressure she was feeling is gone, as well as the nausea and the side effects of the Prilosec. Thanks for praying for her!!

That's all for now. =0)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I also forgot to mention . . .

. . . Christmas day was Isaiah's half-birthday! =0) He is officially 3 1/2!!! It's amazing how time flies!

And, since today is Flashback Friday (thanks, Carla!), I figured I would post some flashbacks . . .

June 25th, 2005



December 2005




2006




2007



2008


Happy half-birthday, Isaiah! =0)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry CHRISTmas!!!!


I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone!! I hope that everyone has had a wonderful day - we did. It was a relaxing and just joyous day. Isaiah had a blast! I would say why, but I figure this picture will explain at least a portion of it:




























=0) Keep going . . . =0)





























=0)

Thanks to a generous donation (thanks - you know who you are), Isaiah got his Spike. He kept saying, "Baby Jesus and Santa sleigh bring a Spike a Dinosaur." =0) Apparently, he was even praying for Spike! Cutie pie!! Anyway, thanks, again - he loves it!

He had a wonderful time opening presents . . . even the ones that didn't belong to him!


My mom had a wonderful day as well. She has multiple ulcers in her stomach and is on 2 different antibiotics along with antacids to help them heal. So far, still no pain . . . until she takes the antacid - it can give you stomach cramps similar to strong hunger pains, except you don't want to eat. She is also having nausea from the one antibiotic. However, she still had a wonderful day.

Even my dad had a wonderful day! One of his gifts is an electric blanket . . . now the rest of us don't have to suffer from his messing with the thermostat! =0) Cool temps in the house come again!!!! =0) Honestly - it's sweet relief! Hahahah, anyway, he has looked very good today. I think the day of relaxing helped a lot too.


I did bake a couple of loaves of Isaiah-safe pumpkin bread (which was yummy!). =0) And, to celebrate, we put some candles in it and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

I have to say that after a failed attempt at making Isaiah-safe chocolate chip cookies (you know, without the oatmeal), this really made my day! To give you a little insight into that story, I tried to make chocolate chip cookies for Isaiah last night, for a Christmas Eve "party" after church. I made up the cookie dough and stuck it in the fridge before church, thinking, "it will be sooooo nice to have warm chocolate chip cookies tonight with a glass of rice milk." Well, those turned out to be a flop . . . flatter than pancakes, more like flour stuck to the pan with lumps of chocolate type of flop. Seriously - flat. It even ruined a baking pan! Even after I added a cup of tapioca flour the cookies were still thinner than a pancake . . . just a glimpse at allergy cooking for those who have ever had to venture there. =0} I cried. I still find it a little difficult to laugh about it . . . seriously. Okay, so I'm starting to see the humor in it. =0) Anyway, I just wanted Isaiah to have his first oatmeal-free chocolate chip cookie . . . more like the real thing. Well, it didn't happen, but we still had a great time last night! =0) Anyway, this turned out really good so I figured I would share it with you . . . the recipe is as follows: =0) (this will not be in the cookbook . . . new recipe)

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Yummy Pumpkin Bread (makes approx. 2 loaves)
(Gluten-free, Egg-free, Milk-free, Soy-free, Peanut & Tree nut-free)

Ingredients:
1 can of Pumpkin (29 oz., approximately 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin)
3 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple sauce (the chunky works well, too)
1/2 cup canola or olive oil
6 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer, mixed with 6 tbsp. water (or the equivalent of 4 eggs)

3 1/2 cups Arrowhead Mills All-Purpose Flour (or 1 1/2 cups of rice flour, 1 cup potato starch flour, and 1 cup of tapioca starch flour - mixed together)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon (or 1 tsp. depending on taste)
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (or 1 tsp. depending on taste)

And, if you like a nutty flavor, add a handful or two of raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds . . . or a handful of both! =0)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Beat until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Beat until smooth.

Grease and flour two large pan loaves. Pour batter evenly into each pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or mostly clean - it may be a tad sticky . . . it's gluten-free). =0)

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Well, It's time to go - long day, lots of fun and excitement, and it's time for It's a Wonderful Life! =0)

Hope you had a wonderful (and yummy) Christmas, full of joy and peace!

(The first year Isaiah has gotten candy in his stocking . . . it was an Isaiah-friendly marshmallow Santa!!!) =0)

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Oh, yeah . . . a poem: =0)

A Christmas Version of 1 Corinthians 13
Author Unknown

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchens, carol in the nursing homes, and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties, and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I realized that the link for Emerson's page was linked to the Chanukah picture, so here is the link again:

http://www.cotaforemersonw.com/node/35

I haven't heard anything from her mom this morning - I hope everything is looking better for Eme this morning. Please keep praying!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Chanukah! & Not Me Monday

First things first, I wanted to ask you to pray for Emerson:
http://www.cotaforemersonw.com/node/35

She is a really brave little girl who needs your prayers tonight. Please, also remember her family as well.

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I forgot to post this last night, so . . . . . . (sorry if you have received this post 3 times . . . I was trying to fix the text color) =0) . . . .

Happy Chanukah!!!


I just love this time of year! =0) All the lights and the warmth of the season . . . Jesus is just so cool! Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

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And, since it is also "Not Me!" Monday . . . Thank, you, McMama!!! =0)


I totally did not let my son sleep in until 11 this morning. I wouldn't do that! I mean, yeah, it's nice to snuggle with a sleeping baby (or child), but to let them sleep until 11 (or more like 11:30)???? Nah, I wouldn't do such a thing!

I also totally did not forget to send out my Christmas cards last week. I mean, my schedule is not that full that I would forget to do such a thing . . . just so you know, your card may get to you after Christmas . . . or not. =0)

I did not decide to give Isaiah chocolate chip waffles for dinner tonight. I mean, really, that's a breakfast food right? And with those lovely Enjoy Life! chocolates??? That's not healthy, is it? What kind of mother am I???

I did not decide to go to bed last night instead of picking up my son's mess - I'm a responsible mommy, I always pick up. Eh-hem. =0)

I did not decide to leave the fish tank alone after cleaning it several times a week failed . . . miserably (it kept turning green with algae, so I was trying to keep it clean). And the tank isn't finally clearing up after 2 or 3 weeks of not cleaning it. Who knew????

And, of course, I can't forget one for Isaiah . . .


Isaiah did not see Santa yet again this week. I mean that would make 4 or 5 times that the child has stopped in the mall just to tell Santa that he wanted, "Spike the [Ultra] Dinosaur . . . Just a Spike." 4 or 5 times?!? That's just crazy! He would never do that . . . or would he???? =0)

Of course, I seriously did not consider taking everything I had already gotten Isaiah back to the store just to get Spike, either. . . . . . . . =0) ROAR! =0)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Almost Wordless Wednesday . . .

Update on my Mom:

Yup, you read it correctly - my Mom. She had an endoscopy today and found out that she has ulcers! She hasn't had too much pain (apart from a little pressure and chest pain), but nothing that worried her too much). She also had to have esophagus widened because she was having trouble swallowing (the reason for the endoscopy in the first place). The doctor said he thinks the ulcers could be bacterial or from a medication she is taking, so he took some cultures (or biopsies). I'll keep you posted.

Just keep her in your prayers as well - I had mentioned she was going through a few health things herself, but never really mentioned what she had said . . . until she said it was okay to post it on here. =0) She is a little groggy from the anesthesia (she had a colonoscopy less than a week ago), but she is doing okay. She had trouble with dizziness and grogginess today, but that's to be expected after being anesthetized twice in one week!

As I said, I'll keep you posted. =0)

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Isaiah's day . . .

1. Wake up and eat breakfast

2. Play with trains



3. Play pretend . . . or hide and go seek


4. "Walk the dog"


5. "C'mon, doggie!" =0)



6. Go for a ride on a "roller coaster" (no idea where he got that one from) =0)


7. Laugh a bit


And how do you get a bicycle up a hill????


=0)

8. Re-decorate the Christmas tree, again! =0)


Which explains where this ornament came from:


Not so bad, you say?



The thing is HUGE! =0) My son and his taste in decoration!

9. Lunch and dinner are in there somewhere, along with a bath. But, those are just all in the details.

10. Time for bed! =0)



. . . and a little message and a song from Isaiah. =0)


video

(you'll have to turn your speakers back up for the song . . . "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" . . . apparently a new favorite along with "Deck the Halls" ) =0)


video