Wednesday, December 14, 2005

From the very foundations of the world, it was predestined that I would be a part of the McDonald clan, and even more, a part of the James M. McDonald V family. Since the day of my birth, I have been blessed far beyond measure and I continue to wonder at the goodness of God in placing me in this family, and under the guidance and care of my dear father.

My Dad is truly a man after God’s own heart and he is always implanting a deep love for the Triune God in the hearts of his children. He is a constant source of patience in the midst of strife, of searching for the calm of Christ in the eye of the storm, and of seeking the will of God in our everyday lives. My Dad willingly gives place to others, shares his precious time to minister to the needy around him, and daily sacrifices comforts to provide for his family and guard his flock from the attacks from without our sweet haven.

Today, December 14th, we celebrate the wonderful act of God in bringing my Father into the world. As I look back into my childhood days, I see a loving and doting father raising his young family, not knowing what the future held, but knowing that as he walked with Christ, he was not alone. Now, as I work with him side by side, I see the same Father raising his much larger family in the strength of our God. I feel his passion, I sense his excitement, I see his vision, and I see his joy and I know where it comes from, because he has put his trust in God.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I love you.
My Dear Father
The James M McDonald family (missing William)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

We had a delightful caroling party last night. Although we were very disappointed our friends from out of town could not make it, we still had a good turnout. Most of our church family came, except for those that were sick. We also had some very dear old friends and some new soon-to-be dear friends, who also brought friends! :)

Some of us dressed for the occasion, though we were all attired from different eras. Abby and Sarah A. wore Baroque gowns, Robin and I wore Regency, Merisha looked like she had just stepped out of the 1830's, and my dad was, as usual, dressed very handsomely in his Victorian garb.

When we made it back to the house, and after we defrosted in front of the fire, and after we stuffed ourselves with all the scrumdidaleedumpcious (yes, that is a word, at least, according to Roald Dahl) food, we went out to dance. 'Twas a lovely night indeed and I only wish it could have lasted longer.
Those of us dressed for the occasion (L-R) Me, Sarah A, Abigail A, Merisha and Dad
Sweet little ladies.
Acknowledging the other couples
Begining formation...
Getting direction from Merisha
Down this way?
Where are we going?
Almost there...
Finishing the set
Back to postition
Saluting corners
Turning corners
Turning corners.
'lil Emma
Some of the guys.
Sir Russell O.
Some of our carolers
Giving gifts
Little William and Sam A.
Miss Sarah and Miss Abigail A.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The weather here has been oh-so fabulous! The temperature dropped fifteen degrees in just a few hours on Sunday, which meant that we could finally wear our very few and limited winter outfits. :)

After service on Sunday, and after everybody was done eating to their hearts content...(our church is never lacking in food) we had a Psalm sing. Once everybody had their part down, the Psalm sounded beautiful indeed. Around five or six 0'clockish, some of us drove out to The Woodlands where we spent a delightful evening in the sweet company of my dear friends (of whom I can't say enough praise of) Allison family. The WSO (Woodlands Symphony Orchestra) was performing the Messiah, which they do but once a year. The choir could have sang with more gusto, but other than that it was simply fastidious! :) They didn't do the whole Messiah, which was rather disappointing, but what they did do was wonderful. I've wanted to hear and see if live for quite some time now, so this was quite a surprise.

On the way home we stopped to get a quick bite to eat, (which we ordered to go, of course) and I also ordered a milkshake. The Whataburger we stopped at had, oh, about ten people in the kitchen, all tripping over each other to do each other's work. It was incredible! Those of us that work in the tea room, never go out to eat without critiquing all the kitchens/wait service and other such ridiculous things. ;-) I don't think we will ever return to normal life.

Anyway, everybody ended up sharing my chocolate milkshake. The chocolate, sugar and the late hour all combined made us all a bit hyper, and we ended up singing the Twelve Days of Christmas from the beltway to our house. We came up with several different ways to sing it, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, or both combined! When we pulled up into the parking lot at out house, we decided to surprise Mom and Dad and pretend to be carolers. Soooo, we crept around to the front door and started singing the Twelve Days of Christmas and knocked on the door. By the time we made it to the fourth thing our true loves gave to us, I realized my parents were sleeping. So, with a sigh, I unlocked the door, and we all piled into the warm house and clambered up the stairs and went to bed.

Yesterday wasn't very busy or exciting, except that our new ginormous convection oven was installed in the store kitchen. So, our collection of huge things is getting bigger...funny how that happens. We know have a great big orange salad spinner, a huge container of baking soda, enough chicken to last a small family for a year, three refrigerators/freezers, a big sink with a garbage disposal and spray all we need to do is get a commercial dishwasher! The downside was that we had to completely re-arrange the kitchen, something we have done way too many times lately, but the food service went much smoother today with the new set-up. We have a party coming in tomorrow, a group of 30 girls and eight mother on Thursday, and a party of twenty on Saturday, which is also our caroling party! Whew...this should keep us pretty busy.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Because my dear friend, Robin, has tagged me (yes, I know it has taken me a while to fulfill my duties...) I am now obligated to post five random facts about myself.

The reason it has taken me so long, is because when put on the spot, I can't think of anything random, and when my friends tell me things that are random about me, I don't think they are random because I know other people who are just as random! Clear as mud? So, if you don't think these are random, or if you know far more random things about me, let me know...please?

So, below are things that people say are random:

1. My hair (which I say is strawberry-blonde) was straight as a board until I turned 16.
2. I break out in hives when I get cold.
3. I enjoy opera.
4. I love cold weather, but the first cold day of the year, and all throughout winter, I talk about how extremely cold it is and how I can't wait for it to warm up.
5. I love food and the idea of feasting, but I hardly eat a morsel.

Okay...that is five and it took me forever to think of them. So now, I am forced to tag five other people to write five random facts about them. Therefore, I tag:

The DeLauderanty family
The Serven Clan
Naomi V.
Martha V.
The Erber Family

Wednesday, November 16, 2005 we're sitting around the coffee table just talking with the fire blazing in the background. Then phone rings...not abnormal in our household. My dad answers and then passes the phone to my mother.

"Hello?......Yes?......" Long pause. The kitchen staff is telling her to let the saleslady know that all we are interested in at this moment is a commercial dishwasher and refrigerator.

"You know, I'm not really interested right now......" The lady continues with her call. So my mom trys a new tactic.

"You know, I just trust God with those kinds of things...."

Still not working. She thinks quickly and takes anther route.

"We publish a magazine....It is really good, and it's only $21.99......No, this is for the year....No, the whole year......It is very good, really...."

It didn't work. The lady just got confused. So, my mom told her again that she wasn't interested. That didn't work either. So she told her again, insisting that she really wasn't interested, and then tried again...after quite some the lady finally gave up.
Oh, what a beautiful morning! Within twenty minutes yesterday, it was 35 degrees cooler. The sky went from normal blue, to purple, to black, and after the rain came through, you almost felt like you were looking through yellow colored glasses. Very strange.

Upon waking up this morning, I looked outside and thought to myself, "It looks rather cold outside." Yes, this has happened to me before, right after the hurricane, as some of you may know. This time, I decided that if it really wasn't cold, I was going to wear my winter garb anyway.

Once I was ready for the day, I went downstairs and then Merisha and I were trying to decide if we were going to walk or drive. Being the rather indecisive people that we are, we couldn't make up our minds. Merisha decided that we would walk. And then my dad told us what the weather was like...44 degrees. So, that made up our minds, right then and there. We drove over this morning. And I was able to make use of my sweater, scarf, gloves and hat. Ahhh...

Monday, November 14, 2005

'Tis November...and it is still hot. My fur jackets, hats, scarves and gloves sit in a drawer, unused, abandoned...unloved. :)

I've been thinking about last fall, about how nice and chilly it was, the small fall dances outside on the lawn, late volleyball games, hot chocolate on the back porch...and how much I complained about it being so cold. :). Ahh...memories, sweet memories. I wonder when it will begin to cool off. I just might pack up my winter clothes, or then again, I just might wear them despite the heat...just for the sake of tradition.

Friday, November 11, 2005

A Series of Rather Humorous, yet Unfortunate Events…

The sun had set, evening was fresh and people were hastening home to see their families. We stood outside of our store while Miss LaDonna locked up for the evening. When she came out and proceeded to lock the front door, I asked if she had set the alarm. She said that she had, and then I let her know that she didn’t need to, because James and a friend who was helping with some build-out would be back to do some work. Without another thought on the matter, six girls, consisting of Miss LaDonna, Robin, Merisha, Jessica, Abigail and myself, and one young gentleman piled into our source of transportation.

The girls and I were “oo-ing” and “aah-ing” over some really cute articles of clothing when the phone rang. I answered and it was my brother.

“Hey Tiffany,” he said. “Did y’all set the alarm?”

“Yes. Miss LaDonna didn’t know that you were coming back, so she set the alarm. Why?”

“I came in the back door.”

*Side note: Once the alarm in our facility is set, you have to go through the front doors to disarm.*

After a quick intake of breath I replied, “No, you didn’t!”

“Yeah, I did.”


“Because that is they way we needed to bring the stuff in.”

“Oh, no.”

“Yeah, and so the security place called, and dad changed the pass code without telling me.”

Another quick intake of breath.


“What happened?”

“I didn’t have the code, so they started going down the line of people to call. She tried to reach dad twice and he wouldn’t answer, and then my phone rang because I was next on the list.”

“Oh no.”

“So, I tried using the emergency calling code with dad, and he won’t answer my calls either.”

“So you’re going to be arrested?”

“I don’t know. The police are on their way.”


“Yup. Oh, and the security people don’t have ‘James VI' on the list, they have 'James IV.'”

“How lovely.”


“So, what are you doing?”


By this time, all of the girls were hovering around me, pestering me with a ton a questions to ask James. When I hung up with him, we tried to call my dad, and he wouldn’t answer us either.

We left the mall because all the stores were closing and refused to take our money. My parents were out on a date that night. Suddenly, we had a novel idea, “Why not interrupt their date and let them know what is going on!”

So, I called James who hurriedly said, “The officer just arrived.”

“Oh boy. Hey where is the Bistro?”

“On Mason.”


“Got to go.” And he was gone.

To make a long story short, we raced over to the restaurant and I ran inside and found my parents eating. I quickly told them what was going on and then started the search for the phone. We found it in my mother’s purse. My dad flipped it on and found he had five new voice messages and thirteen missed calls. He called my brother and was informed that James was going to spend a fifteen year sentence. We decided that was fine, because we could send Gaffney to his cell and he could design from there, fewer distractions.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Our Reformation Celebration went very well. Merisha and I were up sewing until 4:00 am on Saturday trying to finish four dresses and a vest for the party. She had a sudden gust of energy and kept working. I, on the other hand, was falling asleep at the sewing machine and finally climbed up onto some boxes that had been delivered and wrapping myself in a blanket, I dozed off 'till Miss LaDonna came in and started laughing at me. We left soon after, and were up working again at 7:00 am.

We still had eyelets to put in our gowns and so we did that on the way to the party. Since we weren't done when we passed the house where the event was taking place, we drove down the road and found ourselves at a dead end where we sat for about fifteen minutes hurrying to finish. It was all rather humorous, but we did get our gowns done and they turned out very nice. Towards the end of the evening we did some dancing and learned the Irish steps to the Ferry Reel, which came off beautifully.

Anyway, this is a short version of why I haven't posted. :) The long one would probably bore most readers since it consists of cooking, working, sewing and napping...after all, we have nothing better to do. :)

Friday, October 21, 2005

What would life be life if we could not love, or if we had nobody to love? The love a sister has for another is such a sweet blessing from God, and so is my older sister, Christa. I can hardly believe that she is now twenty-one. We have done so much together, been through so much and throughout the course of our lives our love has deepened and the future years can only hold so much more. A friend told me once, "I think birthdays are all about seeing the gifts that you have been given in life. Friendship is one of them."

On this day, for now nineteen years, I have had such a wonderful friend, such a delightful companion and I couldn't ask for more. Dearest Christa, you will never know how much I love you. May God's blessings be richly bestowed on you as you continue to grow in His beauty and grace. I love you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Just a few words tonight...

With a score of five to one, the Astros beat the Cardinals tonight. It's off to the World Series we go! :)

Monday, October 10, 2005

I am so excited. This past weekend it was cold! :) Okay, well not really cold...but in the 70's! And for me...that is getting pretty chilly. It was raining this morning. It was so nice, that I thought about wearing my Angora hat, soft scarf and leather gloves with Angora trim...I almost did...but decided it was a bit eccentric. :) Maybe tomorrow.

The christening was so sweet yesterday. William was adorable, (of course) in his white gown, and he smiled at all the right was a very sweet event. The camera was dead, so photos will have to wait until I get the disk from a friend from church.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Not much has happened at our house since the hurricane. I know that we've been busy...but I can't really recall with what. :) I not exactly sure how this post is going to turn out...I'm at a loss for words.

Our dear friends, the Townsend family will be moving out here this month! We are so thrilled they are coming. We have missed them terribly since they left, and are greatly looking forward to being with them again.

William is to be baptised is on Sunday. We will have many dear friends and family worshipping and celebrating with us. He is getting so big (or rather fat) and very strong. He is arching his back and he loves to eat his index finger and middle finger on his left hand, I believe. Anway...since I haven't much to say today, I've posted some photos of him for you all to see. Enjoy!
William Alexander
Aren't they cute!
Sleepy boy.
Bubby loves his Bubble.
Will you get me out...please?
I think he is tired of sitting.
Sweet baby.
What are you doing?
But I wasn't ready for a picture!
I'm not sure he likes all those toys in his face...what thinkest thou?
William likes tea parties.
I love my Mommy!
Are you taking my photo again?
Look at those cheeks!
Brother-Sister cute.
William playing.
Baby Boy sleeping

Thursday, September 29, 2005

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Monday, September 26, 2005

Well, Rita didn't cause as much damage as we were expecting. In fact, all we had was some strong winds and a wee little bit of rain. Thanks to all of you dear friends who kept our family in your prayers!

Most of the family and the Townsend family watched Master and Commander on Friday night. Since I've seen it several times, I decided to get some sewing done instead. Around midnight, I retired since there was really no excitement going on outside. The rest of the family came up at a quarter to one. I woke up at 2:00 am, and then again at 2:30, but the activitiy going on outside my bedroom window wasn't too enticing. :)

I woke up at 6:45 on Saturday and when I looked out my window, it looked like winter! It was very gray outside, wet looking and cold. So, I jumped out of bed, donned some clothing, opened my favorite drawer full of winter things, and put on a jacket, my rabbit fur hat, soft black scarf and leather gloves with fur trim. I headed downstairs, turned the alarm off and opened the door to go for a nice walk...and to my complete and utter surprise, I was greeted with nasty hot and humid weather. Imagine my disappointment...I had planned on taking the first cool walk of the year, and then coming home to make our delicious Pumpkin muffins, the ones we wait to eat 'till the first cold day of the year! :( So, I headed back upstairs, changed my outfit, and decided that smoothies would be more fitting.

If you want to see some photos, see my Dad's blog. He beat me to it. :)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

There is an erie feeling through the streets in Katy. The south side of Katy is almost deserted, there is no laughter from the children playing in the parking lot next door, no cars or school buses driving by, no air soft wars from the boys in the is almost complete silence...and it is so strange.

The dear family, who evacuated New Orleans during Katrina, have been staying with us, and were going to head out to San Antonio to stay with some relatives to get out of the path of Rita. But in a few hours, they had only made it 15 miles from our home and had been on Hwy 90 for an hour and had only gone one mile! The traffic is backed up going either east or west. It is over 120 degrees on the freeways and the cars are getting nowhere. A few families in our neighborhood came back after being in their cars for several hours and not making any progress.

We have buckets and pitchers of water filled up. We also have a huge garbage can (the Brute) filled to the top with water for utility purposes. We are still filling buckets for our supply. We are going to keep an overnight bag packed for the "just in case." We are gathering all of our shoes and putting them into a crate by the door for any glass breakage. We emptied all of the things in our attic and put them into the school room, baked lots of bread, cookies, etc. We have nothing on our back porch, and will be starting to tape our windows.

I don't think that I've experienced anything like this before. It is so unusual to just be sitting here, not being able to do anything because all the stores are closed, and there is nobody around. As I write this, I can hear ticking sound of the clock sitting on my desk beside me, listening to the time pass away...just waiting. It is such a queer feeling. I can't describe it. We all know it is coming and about when it will come, but what it will do and what it will be like are the thoughts filling our heads. And we still have a the rest of today and all of tomorrow to think about it. I suppose that is what hurricane parties are for...distraction.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I think that the older I get, the faster time seems to slip away from me, the slow relaxing days seem to be quickly vanishing from sight and the more sleep I seem to need! I don't think my life has ever been such a whirwind of constant activity.

In just a few short weeks, some friends of mine have moved from the Houston area and relocated, yes only a few hours away...but that is still a few hours away. I passed a test, my bedroom has been designated the "Second Nursery," our store has been extremely busy... and so many other things have happened that my brain is too frazzled to remember.

I went to a conference on Saturday, and to my delight, the Brown gentlemen were there! In between sessions, we spent some time visiting. When David wasn't snapping photos or talking with older people, he was talking to William and keeping him happy, which I am extremely grateful for! Jonathan Erber and one of his brothers were there, I believe taping the conference. Caleb was so excited when he saw Jonathan and spent most of his time talking to him. We tried to get them to come out to our house, but their short visit to Houston didn't allow for it. :( Maybe next time!

We also had a hurricane Katrina victim family move in with us yesterday. They will be staying with us until they make decisions on where to stay. In the meantime, they have been a tremendous help here at the store! The oldest daughter also plays the harp and has promised lessons to those interested. :)

During the past week, I had so many accidents in the kitchen, that our employees have started calling all bloopers or accidents, "Tiffanys." I even made a "Top 10 Stupid Things I've Done Today" list, but by the time I got home from the store the night I made it, I was too tired to post it. So instead of the top ten "Tiffanys" I committed in one day, I've done what is below. I didn't put it in order of how stupid the crime was...I'll let you decide.

The top 10 stupid things I've done this week:

1. Cut my fingernail in half instead of cutting basil
2. Hit my head on the soap dispenser above the sink in our store kitchen
3. Hit my head on the car door.
4. Dropped the milk gallon on the floor and while attempting to rescue my skirt, I let the milk get away from me.
5. Thinking I had an oven mitt on, I tried to get something out of the oven and burnt my hand.
6. Overflowed the sink at the store.
7. Dropped butter on the floor and then stepping on it when I was trying to clean it up.
8. Cut my finger instead of the food that needed chopping.
9. Spilled coffee down the front of me.
10. Dumped the custard filling for the quiche all over the counter and the floor.

Monday, September 12, 2005

My Mother

September 3rd is a very special day in the McDonald household. Upon that day, my Mother was born. The love and gratitude that we have for her, she will most likely never know. The time she sets aside for us to do the things we want, the way she goes out of her way to make sure everybody is comfortable, the example that she gives us each day is very appreciated. And though we fail to mention our love and thankfulness as often as we should, her love never diminishes, but grows stronger and deeper as the years go by. (As we were out of town for her birthday and without internet connection, this post is just now being published.)

My heart overflows with joy,

And many things beside

Whenever thoughts of Mother

Enter into my mind.

I am extremely thankful,

For the Mother God did give

To train me for His kingdom

And for His glory live.

She taught me how to cook,

And help with little ones,

Read to them from Scripture

Lay them down with the setting sun.

I honor and respect her,

My heroine she is,

I want to follow in her footsteps

As she follows after His.

I love you, Mother.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I am so sorry that I've not given you an update! Please don't give up on me, Caleb! I really do have a good excuse...

Right after I arrived home from Virginia, my family left for New Mexico to attend a family conference that my parents were speaking at. After the two day trip up there, we spent several days at a camping site...With no internet connection (See Caleb...isn't that a good one?). It was on a beautiful campus, with lakes, mountains and hiking areas. James, Christa, Jessica and Caleb went horse-back riding a couple of times, and we had games of putt-putt, volley-ball, soft-ball and dodge ball. Dad and I went boating with some of the little girls, we celebrated the graduation of a good friend of ours, and also celebrated my Mother's birthday while we were there.

After the evening sessions, some of the young people decided to do some historic ball room dances. Word crept out that we were doing this, and before we knew it, there were a bunch of people ready to learn. We stayed up until 11:00, and if we didn't have to get up early to make it to breakfast, we probably would have done more. We had a great time and are eagerly looking forward to next year.

Unfortunately, my camera died early the first day, so I don't have any photos to share with you. :( A friend of mine took some though, so I might try to see what I can get from him. If I don't have any success, I'll give you the link that the coordinators are putting soon as they get it up. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

We left the house around five o'clock on Friday and drove out to Wake Forest, NC to visit Scott and Deborah Brown and family, or, most of the family. The second oldest daughter is in Texas right now. The Browns have an incredible house on 100+ acres in North Carolina. They have three lakes, rolling hills, tall trees, cows, horses, dogs and cats.

Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Brown, Kelly, Claudia, Mrs. Chancey, Belle, Felicity and I went out for afternoon tea. Their tea shop is in an old building, and they have a chest full of hats and gloves that you can wear for your tea party. We had a delightful time eating scones and strawberry soup with hot Vanilla tea.

We went to church with them this morning, and I ran into a few people that I know from Houston! I saw a family that we used to go to church with, and two people that I know who are in seminary up here. It was rather humorous.

I have really enjoyed my time with the Browns, and hope to have more opportunities to get to know them better in the near future. More photos to follow!
Kelly knitting.
John Nathan being...a boy.
David Brown
Claudia reading next to one of their many windows
Kelly knitting
Me at tea
Belle couldn't wait for the tea to be poured into her cup...