Sunday, December 28, 2008
Then and Now, and Tomorrow
As I think about this year that soon will end, thoughts and events of it seem to overtake me. About this very day last year I rushed my son to the nearest hospital, and then watched carefully how he got through some serious surgery, and he did, and made it our first 2008 miracle.

Somewhere in all of it, my thoughts about writing a great book got side tracked, and still aren't where they need to be. When I thought life might slow enough for me to catch up with it, the presidential race took flight, and everything else slowed tremendously.

What seemed like a not so important thing then, happened while I was celebrating leaving work, by digging a deep hole in the yard, and planting a lovely rose in it. At first I didn't hurt to extreme, but within a day or two, knew I was in trouble, and had to see an orthopedic doctor who began a change in life for me, from unusual dexterity, to leaning on crutches, which continued a month or two, then left me with a limp that increased until I got this unruly knee checked again, and now I'm looking at surgery on it. My son I rushed to the hospital last year, will soon be helping take care of me while I go through it.

My town hosted the Democratic Convention, and since I couldn't work much with this knee getting worse, I helped out at the election headquarters, for weeks. I will never forget seeing the marked change in our phone surveys; those calls that irritate so many. I would gladly put up with some unwanted phone calls, to get someone in the White House who would care about my needs. I realized voters were turning toward the man who now will lead our country, and for me the election was over.

My knee still hurt, sometimes a lot, but it's amazing what adrenaline can do, even to an aged knee. If it needed repairs, I would deal with it after the presidential election. It might be in bad condition, and it's turned out that it is, but our country was in worse.

When our stock market crumbled this time around, I was almost making history, from being born in the long ago Great Depression, and perhaps spending my last years in the one we're in now, and the irony of this scares me. But it's going to take more than what I've seen of it, to completely get to me.

To launch this new year, I will seriously list more new resolutions, to work on improving me. My newest one is to learn a foreign language. The one that's more needed here, as our population shifts, is Spanish. I'm not good yet at speaking it, but almost every day I learn more words, and while I'm not mobile after this knee surgery, I can learn even more, and with some unexpected but appreciated serendipity, may meet somebody somewhere who can teach me how to speak it. The nice thing about living through a tough depression, is that you learn how to manage without things, and are so much stronger because of having done it.

Today our pastor shared an overall plan of growth for our church in this coming year. He used a quote of scripture that our race in life should be directed toward Jesus Christ, our Lord, and talked about how we were running superbly; (this from chapter 5 of Galatians) It asks "Who cut in on you?" stating further that the detour we've made didn't come from the One who called us into the race in the first place.; that our life long journey should always lead us to He who died for us.

Mere knee surgeries, or widespread depressions in our country, are nothing our Lord cannot handle, but only part of His bigger plan for us. My task is to make sure my new year's resolutions are in line with His. You may want to keep this in mind while you're making yours, for he really does hold this entire old world in His loving hands.

  posted at 9:35 PM  

Sunday, December 21, 2008
A Christmas Of Goodwill
For a day that began a little late, it turned out alright. When I'd set the alarm, I somehow made it for p.m. instead of for morning. But I woke up only an hour late, and by hurrying got to church for most of the service. The advent candle was already lighted, and the whole congregation was singing Christmas carols.

I found an empty space, and settled in, as a line of young people took their places at the front of the church, to tell us with singing what Christmas is for. Intermixed with the ancient carols were readings from Matthew about the first Christmas. But even in such a reverent setting, our humanness surfaced when during a short pause in the music, a little voice asked, "Are we done yet?" To which our pastor softly said "No. Not quite".

The children's presentation ended with someone in a red suit and a full beard of snowy white soft looking curls, giving each of the children a Christmas surprise. The curliness of the gift giver's beard reminded me of ribbon one swirls on packages this time of year.

After visiting a little with church friends, I made what I hope will be my last trip to the store til the end of the year. Two things we're changing somewhat about Christmas, are to spend less for presents, and share the food costs. My kitchen time should be much less that I usually spend there. It can't take so long to fix shrimp, or the relish trays and just to be safe, I got more shrimp, and other stuff today, and really good cocktail sauce.

This is the part of shopping I've gotten very good at. My eyes are like radar finding bargains other shoppers walk all around. Three jars of the really good sauce were marked down a lot, so I got all of them, for we'll need it for our size clan.

In the decoration and gift idea section I only needed scotch tape from, for a moment I almost weakened, when I spotted some nicely dressed Santas. I left them where I'd found them.

My next stop was that thrift store I keep telling you about. This year we really are having a Goodwill holiday. Near Christmas, they mark holiday items down to half price. A nicely decorated Santa was just sitting there, waiting for me to rescue him from the discard bin. His curly beard also looked a little like that ribbon I mentioned that's so fun to wrap with.

To be logical, I put back a tweety bird decoration, and a little wooden rocking horse, and some other seasonal thing, that made it come out to the cost of the Santa, a whopping three dollars and fifty cents.

I did fill that childhood yearning to get something simply because I wanted it, and now have a one hour tape called the "Song of Ireland" It says I will see sights and sounds of Dublin, and markets and colorful pubs, and St. Patrick's cathedral, and Kilkenny Castle, and other places too many to mention, all for one dollar.

I also found another great book, "America's Growing Years (1789-1829). I don't know if it has to do with my getting older, or what, but I can't get enough of how our country was born, and developed. I want to know more of her growing up.

One more stop, and I'd soon be home. On my last shopping trip, I found a nativity scene that's a music box. What delights me about it is that Mary is holding Baby Jesus in her arms and lap, and Joseph is sitting there with them. A part of it was loose, so I got some Gorilla glue that should work on it, and my son will fix it.

I had told him about a friend giving me a Christmas tree, to make sure he had one, but his is already up where their cats can't get to it, so I'm sure he wouldn't take it down, and start over. Still, he seemed very interested in getting the other one. Even when he depended on food from a food bank to help them, he would share it with a family of his son's friend. The mother works at a McDonald's for pitiful pay, and has children to feed. I'm pretty sure he is taking the tree to them, which in my mind is what Christmas is really about.

My house is so scattered right now. A few more gifts to wrap, and some cleaning to do, and fixing the foods. Once in a while, when I'm stuck in some long shopping line, my knee hurts enough I just want to sit on the floor and feel bad for myself. But that kind of self-pity lasts only a moment, then I remember why we're doing all this about Christmas.

Before heading to the check out counter, I looked for a few other things, and found a perfectly good backpack that's been hanging there since the last donations came in, and I know someone who will need it.

Remember my telling you how I'm trying to persuade a certain grandson to get going with college? Between my pointing out the advantages of it, and other relatives encouraging him, a week or so ago he and his dad met with a college counselor, and he took an evaluation test. He scored well in all areas, except math, and will get one on one help with it. I can't even tell you how hopeful I am about this.

Instead of lolling in the comfort of what is familiar, even of poverty, this soon to be young man, may just do something well for himself, that can make all the difference. I don't think I'll ever grow out of wishing for at least a small surprise on Christmas morning, but seeing this grandson better himself is more than a gift. It's part of the promise from Jesus, that Hope reigns again, and another reason why we have a little Christmas to celebrate, again.

  posted at 7:58 PM  

Monday, December 15, 2008
What! Only Ten More Days?
I am sitting here tonight, dressed as warmly as I can, wondering how I drank my hot cocoa so fast, after holding my hands around the cup, because it felt so good. Yesterday, or the day before, Colorado got a snowing that will be around for days, because air from the North Pole came with it, and it's below freezing here. Pretty pictures of Santa and his deer we used to color in grade school, are nice to think about. Still I wonder how Santa kept from freezing to death up there.

It is so cold here, but I was trying again, for I don't know how many times, to wrap presents, when the phone rang. My very best friend wanted to know if I'd see a play with her at the local high school, on short notice. She didn't know what play it was, but that was O.K. We'd find out when we got there, and that's how I got to see "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, adapted by Romulus Linney, right here in the season.

It wasn't hard to find a place to park, because I went early, and was glad I did. Walking in the building reminded me that my own children finished highschool there, and that encouraged some memories.

The place was filling. Soon the lights dimmed, and this tall, bent over creature slowly walked from a side of the stage, and with his first words took command of the next few hours as if they belonged to him. The huge supporting cast, some dressed somberly, others more of the place in time the play was set, and still others were surprisingly quite colorful, especially when they did the dancing scenes. A part of the play that couln't be, without it, must be the fast work of the stage hands. How they changed all that furniture and even walls amazes me.

I had not read the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Had only a general idea of his being tight with money, and was surprised there was so many parts to the story. It was so good,getting lost in it. At the ending, there was at least one standing ovation. and many flower bouquets sneaked in, and held high for grand children of proud grand parents. Not once in the excitement of the play, did I think about wrapping gifts.

But the next day I tried again, and wouldn't you just know that my phone which doesn't ring much, did. My Korean nursing buddy I used to work with, was on her way to pick up her little girl, and asked if I'd spend part of the day with them. I had declined going to the church ladies' Christmas party, but a chance to be with this little girl and her Mom, I would not miss.

As we're headed to some place she understands sells trees and things for Christmas, I ask my friend's daughter how she's doing with studies and school, and does she still like her teacher, and what about her learning Spanish. Every answer is a yes, Then she tells me how the Spanish say turtle. It's tortuga. She even pronounces it for me. She explains a math drill the teacher gives, how it's timed so they learn to think quickly.

I'm not sure having to hurry with numbers is so crucial, but I don't say it. I do point out to my little friend that people who get very good at working with numbers usually make more money than those who don't. But I can tell I'm overloading her young brain, so I stop, and just tell her how glad I am to spend some time with her. She smiles and looks at me, and murmurs a soft yes. Some things don't need a lot of words to be expressed.

We went to a Christmas kind of place, I only imagined I knew what was there. Thought they sold real Christmas trees, and other holiday stuff for decorating, and in a way they did. But all of it just about blew me away. Their trees were man made, seemed like a countless number of them, and I was shocked at the prices. Some cost more than a thousand dollars.

Nativity scenes, many kinds, and so beautiful, looked more like works of art, and were priced as if they were. I don't mean to come across as if I'm Ebenezer's kin, but being the country girl I am, born when the first depression started, and all my life ever aware of having to stretch dollars, it is difficult to understand how people spend so much at places like this.

Walking space was crowded the whole time we were there. Every kind of Christmas things were displayed and people were buying them. It was like walking back in time to a magical place of Christmases past, and somehow I would have felt better if there had been a Salvation Army Bell Ringer near the door for perhaps, at least some coins to make some poor peoples' Christmas better.

The timing of those two outings seemed Heaven sent, with our frigid snow storm waiting another day. I'm back to wrapping gifts again, but I relocated the set up for it, from the room I was in, and it's now sprawled across the livingroom, close to a cozy heating vent. Nights like this, the first thing on my list of thanks is not having to leave the house. Should not be a problem now, getting those presents wrapped.

Of course there's other things to do. My part of the family feast is to make party trays, and prepare the shrimp. But before this extrordinary year ends, I must prepare a serious resolution list. It will include things like watching geese fly over more, and sometimes being able to see full moons through the sun room skylights. But I also will ad this year, more phone calls to family and friends, and working on that book I started. Sometimes Christmas happens while you're getting ready for it.

  posted at 10:38 PM  

Thursday, December 11, 2008
Catching Up With Christmas
I had a good game plan for my Christmas "to do" list. Did most of the shopping early on, and a few nights ago, wrapped the out of town presents.

When I finished the last one, didn't have to post them quickly, There's still plenty of time for sending, but I liked the idea of their being done, so I stayed up til after midnight, getting them ready for their mailing journeys.

Standing at the cluttered table where they set, I was wishing I had something with wheels on it to transport them, when I spotted a big storage bin thing,
then turned out the light over the scattered mess I'd made of wrapping. The bin would work fine. But it had been an overly busy day, so I took myself to bed.

After a while with wakeup coffee the next morning, I got the full bin out to the car, and started Christmas music playing before I put me in. All the way to the postal place I am a singing Christmas happy camper. Having time to spare, not dealing with work, and getting there, it's amazing what that does for attitude and everything about this time of year.

I get to where I'm going, and open the back end of the car, then before I can get started pulling my holiday cargo, two people, one of them a postal employee hurry up to where I am, and insist on carrying it all for me, while another customer there holds open the doors. So far, my mission is right on estimated schedule, and I've never been in love with adhering to them.

Inside where I'm in line, a man and a little girl standing ahead of me wait their turn. She's wearing one of those bright red and white Christmas caps that hang down some at the back of her head. She is being pretty good, for a kid who has to waste her time like this, when she could be doing lots of things, like dreaming of what she may get Christmas morning. She begins fidgeting, you know, that wrestless little way only children move around, and if they're really brave, twirling one side of themself, and then the other. So I ask her where she got that pretty red cap, and she pats her head a little, and tells me she got it at a Christmas party yesterday, and a very good cup cake, too.

Our line seems slow, and I see why. A lady ahead of us isn't reinventing the cave men's wheel, but I get the impression if she wanted to, she could. She certainly has enough tools to start with, a very big box to mail, a huge role of tape, and marking pens and scissors. but I guess it's alright. Then I think, yes! this is great. because I really thought I should have taped one of mine better.

I watch and wait for just the right timing, when I can see she's done with hers. Then I half talk, but more point to her tape, and make a circle motion around my big box, and she lets me use some of the tape. As she's leaving, I realize I could have said Gracias to her, so I'm hoping she understood my Thank You. My purpose in getting someone to help me, is because I understand it helps build self esteme, and I was already getting into that when the people helped carry the packages.

As I leave the postal station, I'm so glad the mailing's done. Now I can concentrate on other parts of Christmas. I run more errands, and then come home, and start to do more wrapping, but decide it's allright to take a break from all of it.

After a while my son who tried hard for over two years to be approved for disability, calls and comes by. I ask him a question about making sure my Christmas tree is fire proof, and he assures me it is, and then he says he needs to get a tree, even a small one, for his place. I try to not let my wanting to cry show at that. It would be so selfish, so I don't. but I will never forget the relieved look I saw on his face, as it turned into a smile.

This year Christmas is more than special. We have reasons for raising our cups in toasts several times. About this time last year, lots of things were not as well as they could have been. His chance of being approved was not encouraging. Life day into day was hard. For some years I'd not seen a Christmas tree, or other decorations where he lives.

This is the son who when he was about ten or eleven built a nativity scene outside our house that spread a ways across the front yard. When I'm very old, family will need to just indulge me, retelling it again and again. He built a wood frame, dragged fresh cut tree limbs from a nearby woods, "borrowed" a little lamp from the house, stringing a long cord, so it would light. and used his sister, Bev's (at "Girl Raised In The South) special doll, for baby Jesus

Later today I shopped some more, at my favorite bargain place, this area's thrift store. It was packed with customers, for hours, I know it was for I was there. My total bill was seventeen dollars. This included a cuddly looking toy thing for the newest family member, cost only three bucks. I can't decide if it's suppose to be a little bear or a doggy. it just sets there, and will be great for little ones to touch, it's arms and legs, or paws and legs are wrapped around a soft to touch throw, and it's wearing a Santa cap like the little girl at the post office. And then I got totally selfish, found a Victorian Santa that's like a music box. He's in soft, light colors. Holds a bouquet in one arm, while there's a basket looking something on the other, with what looks like a Christmas Goose. His flowing robes are accented with delicate looking flowers. I don't know if he's porcelain, or what, but he's just beautiful, and he cost six dollars, and it's probably not too difficult to figure out who he is for.

Later on I will post about other things, but tonight I just want to enjoy every moment of this season. Soon I've got to drive in certain areas, to take in great decorations, and I will sing, if I have to, alone. Today I caught myself ringing out the one, "Give thanks" and I do, I so do this Christmas season.

  posted at 9:47 PM  

Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Winter Miscellany
I went to bed last night wondering how much snow would fall, and when dawn arrived, had just poured a first cup of coffee. Then the phone rang out a call from daughter Bev, at "Life of Grits". Hearing her "Hi Mom" closed the miles from Pennsylvania, to this snowcapped Colorado town.

We talked of many things, including gift giving at Christmas time, and agreed we don't need brown paper packages from far off places, to know that we are loved. I'll take hearing my children's voices over anything Santa could bring. When I heard Bev's this morning, I hurriedly poured a second coffe cup, for one wouldn't last through our conversation.

For some unhurried time, we relived things about our Christmases. This one I hope to help make more about family simply caring, and being together having a wonderful time. I am always amazed how quickly it seems we use up most of an hour talking. Then Bev needed to try to give her cat a haircut, (She's brave like that) and I have a few things to do, getting ready for our family clan.

I had just set the phone down, and peered outside to see how much snow fell, when I spotted a son's old van, and heard the raking sound of his clearing sidewalks for me. The house is back from the street, so it takes some shoveling to clear them, another example of what love is, instead of material things.

I consider myself wealthy in a way that has nothing to do with money. When my son finished clearing the snow, he headed to other parts of the yard, and was glad to report that no tracks of foxes, or other animals that size were anywhere around. Another gift that can't be measured in dollar bills and coins. We've resisted some kind of critter's efforts to homestead here, to the point that big heavy four by four rafter boards, and chunky garden bricks make edges around the house appear we're expecting another Civil War Fort Sumter.

When my son finished clearing the walks, and did his anti-fox check, we talked for a while, and then each of us went on with our separate lives. He's a little down hearted because some mix up at the Social Security office is delaying his much needed first disability check. I had heard that a relative might be surprising him with an unexpected gift, and was tempted to tell him, but decided that the gift will mean more because it is unexpected. (I am very good at keeping secrets).

Haven't talked with other relatives just lately, but since this post is so miscellaneous, would like you to know that my friend from Korea, who ended up in America, after being abandoned in her homeland, and became a nurse, then almost drowned in alcohol, is doing outstandingly well. For a while after completing a great rehab program, she worked for terribly low wages in a nursing uniform shop, until someone took a chance, and hired her as the nurse she is. She's a good one. I know, because I used to work with her. Just recently she got a promotion. Ever since she came home from the rehab, she's done nothing but make me prouder and prouder of her. If that's not a gigantic gift, I can't imagine what is.

This time last year my son, the one who cleared my walk ways a little earlier here, got very ill at Christmas time, so sick that when the hospital examined him, not one, but three surgeons descended, one at a time in ER, trying to not show how serious it was, saying things that non medical people wouldn't realize, is how they work at not upsetting worried families. Seven days later they removed various tubes and equipment that looked like it had invaded him, and I prayed words and tears of gratitude, that God let me keep this son. I am so grateful, I can't find words to describe what it was like.

I do not know how his son will fare, but since he's been home, he's stayed out of trouble. I do know his father is doing everything he can to steer him in the right directions. If it means humbling himself enough to get food from various charities, I would be the first to volunteer to stand in line for them.

I was born in one horrible depression. I remember much of it, and how little we had, and I can see the one we have will hang around over America, at least awhile, but I will not roll in the negative daily news of it.

Sometimes it's a little scary that my house keeps losing value, and on job interviews I've done lately, though they can't and don't say it, I get the impression they prefer younger and stronger nurses, and maybe that's more of a blessing, than a problem.

For years I've wanted to write a book I've carried around in my head, but I come home from work either worn out, or stressed to the limit, and that's why I know last summer's knee injury is more of a serendipity than a sad accident.

As long as it worked like it had, I didn't look at living any differently. When this holiday time ends, I will be checking other kinds of work. This time off I've had shows me I haven't been living, but only existing, and life is too sacred and short, to settle for only that.

People who play life close to the chest would have a scary card game of this. But if you knew me, you'd understand that taking a chance is less risky to me, and much more interesting, than not finding out if I can. I figure we do have choices, even though we don't seem to.

When the sun comes up in the morning, I can embrace the day, or dread it. A new friend I've found, Mary, at Random Thoughts, is teaching me about giving thanks each morning, instead of presenting our Lord with my wish list. It's kind of like this: We could get hit by a run away eighteen wheeler, or we might win a lottery game. I understand the odds for both are about the same. But being like God wants us is much more of a sure thing, so why not dwell on having a thankful attitude, and what we'd rather have.

In the meantime we have a nearby Christmas. It is time to set other things down, and appreciate the One who holds the world in His hands. I think I'll wrap those presents now, and make the house real pretty, for whoever shows up to celebrate His day.

  posted at 3:38 PM  

Sunday, December 07, 2008
Christmas Plans
A few days ago I was wondering why I am so much more wanting to do special things this year for Christmas, and the answer is easy: I am not working right now. I don't have to dread whether or not I can be here when children, and grand children, and even a great grandchild come over. That alone is plenty of reason to enjoy getting ready for it.

Shopping is more fun, too. I don't have to hurry, which may bother those in the stores who do, but I've missed so many Christmases because of working, this one I plan draining every special moment I can from it.

For example, when I opened the door this morning, to get the paper, I heard a sound I've not taken time to hear for a long while. The sound makers hadn't appeared yet, yet, but I knew they would, and exactly according to their unruffled schedule, a huge formation of geese far above my head, reminded me of the renown Blue Angels. They held to their flight plan so close to my house, it was like having a front row seat at an air show, and I was not in a hurry to let go of it.

Later, as I carried pot luck foods to the car for church, I decided to drive there a different way, one that treats you to snow capped views that remind you there is, or needs to be more to life than working.

I thought I might wrap more gifts tomorrow, but a forecast of possibly six inches of snow in the evening changes that. Instead I'll finish packing those going out of town, and send them earlier in the day. Then it can snow all it wants to. Maybe the geese will treat me to another Blue Angel like flyover, before it's time for falling snow, and marshmallows floating around in hot cocoa.

Last week I decorated the tree all by myself. It's nice when you have some help, but the tree was easy to situate, and pretty lights were already on it, so, like a great grand son got to enjoy all by himself at his Nana's at daughter Barb's "A Chelsea morning" tree, I placed every ornament on my tree myself, then reved up three cd's, "A Quiet Family Christmas", with Celtic Harp, and Pan flute, and Josh Groban's "Noel". Oh my Lord, it's an incredibile voice and range he has. I completed the music with "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Celebration". Whatever kind of Christmas mood you're in, or want to be, one of those will surely supply it.

I was feeling pretty good about my not so organized Christmas game plan. Was looking at some nicely made stand up Santa's, thinking I might surprise daughter Barb with a new one, when I spotted the one thing, the most important Christmas thing of all of them, A Nativity scene.

The regular price wasn't bad, and the store was discounting it even more, but there was only one set, and I noticed an angel was missing a wing, and a closer check showed a wise man had somehow lost part of a hand, but the most noticeable thing was when Joseph and Mary were being led by God's angels to Bethlehem, poor Joseph somehow had lost his head.

A store clerk helped me find it, and the checker said Gorilia glue worked well, but to press it a little to make good contact. I thought it would be easy to glue the head back, and It was such a colorful porcelain, and an impressive wooden manger. What really sealed the deal is, the store manager marked it even lower, and I couldn't wait to get it home, so I could figure out how to give Joseph his head back.

I opened the box it was in, and reached to take Joseph out, to better work with him, and that's when I discovered all the nativity characters were glued somehow to the manger, there was no way I could get Joseph out without breaking him even more, and That's when I knew this Nativity is exactly the kind I need.

First, I tried placing it in the living room, wondering when or if family would notice the breaks, but then I knew just where to set it: Up and over to the right of the computer. easy eye connection to it. Every time I look at it, I remind myself yes, there's been broken pieces of this year, but many more days of almost delight, but it was the ones that needed repair that brought my Lord closer, and I wouldn't trade even a perfect year for that. But it's allright if the geese return whenever they want to, and Snow caps form on the mountain peaks any time they choose, as family gathers again, to share this imperfect Christmas.

  posted at 10:56 PM  

Wednesday, December 03, 2008
How do I love my Lord, Let me count the ways.........
Perhaps it's the holiday season, and the beautiful things we use to express it, that's gotten hold of me. Tonight I'm overflowing from blessings at my feet.

Last week the about biggest family shopping store in our country, and maybe in the world, tried upping their profit even more, by scheduling shopping hours to begin at five a.m.

Two thousand customers showed up for this insane event, eager to get discounted items; big screen TV's, digital cameras, and other things, and, as most of you probably learned, a man hired to clean the store died because the customers' herd mentality and its greed, valued bargain prices more than life itself.

The news said, not only did the crowd knock the man down, and walk right over him, but were just as violent with those who tried to rescue him. When the store closed for a few hours, after the man died, the crowd sounded a lot like the one that clamored for Jesus to be killed, except the Wal Mart throng, only cared about getting marked down prices, as they did their Christmas shopping. Something is very wrong with anyone who celebrates our Saviour's birth like that.

Laws about killing people will be tested in this death. I'll admit I was shocked, and then so angry, but mostly just so sad that a man died like that. But I could not but feel some pity for human beings who have made material things their imitation gods. What can they celebrate, come Christmas morning? How can this day of holiness mean anything to them.

In the news is surely the most extreme example that kind of thinking has come down to. Some store, I believe a jewelry store in Japan, claims to have the world's most expensive Christmas tree displayed. they were quoted as saying "Economic sentiment is sluggish, but in their store they want people to feel a "gorgeous atmosphere". This article, by Lily Fu, through My Fox National, said the tree is covered in 24K gold, and is decorated with more than 240 jewels; diamonds and pearls, and is worth 1.6 million dollars.

Some may think, or ask, why I'm making such a point about the Wal Mart death, and why should I care if a store in Japan decorates a tree like that. I care, because
when people love anything so much that a person's life no long matters, and 1.6 million dollars is spent to decorate a tree, something's terribly out of balance here.

This Christmas season, I'll admit that buying less expensive gifts has much to do with bank balances, and our nationwide economic disaster. But I think it might be a good thing, even if money wasn't tight, to change how we've been exchanging gifts. This year I scaled shopping way far back. Will have favorite foods for the family, ones we don't have every day. Regular shopping here does not include steak and lobster, but there just may be some shrimp, lots of shrimp.

For gifts I searched for items I know certain loved ones are interested in. Found one early in the year, and am sure a special daughter inlaw will just about love getting. She collects anything she can of Norman Rockwell. I found a book first published in 1946, and again twenty five years later, about 1971. It has pages and pages of his work, and other information about how he painted. You may not care for his kind of drawings, but she sure does, and it won't hurt her feelings that this great book cost me only two dollars at a thrift store. I could tell you other gifts I found there, but the one's they are for read my blog, and you know how that is, so they'll have to wait til Christmas morning.

I may use this way of choosing gifts again. It won't change the attitudes of the Walmart crazed crowd, but that insanity needs to stop somewhere, Maybe if enough of us kept this in mind when shopping, refused to even go there on the day after Thanksgiving, we could make a little difference in the world. We don't have to chime right in with every sales approach stores use to get us there.

I experienced something else today, and am glad that I did. I asked a friend at church to pray for my son who was waiting to find out if he would be approved for being disabled, and the first thing she said was that she would make sure he gets weekly boxes of food the church gives needy people.

On the day to get it, I was running errands anyway, so I went to the church to get it for him. I noticed people were already arriving, so I parked close by, and got in line with them. Some were haviing a hard time staying warm, others milled around a little. No one called each other by name, even though it was obvious they recognized each other. People getting the boxes ready were still busy adding more donations that had come in. be passed out. My Pastor saw me, and motioned for me to come inside, where he was helping with it.

Each person waiting seemed in their own mental world. I didn't see much eye contact between them. A kind of quiet hovered, perhaps to ward off embarrassment from needing help. My pastor's helpers took a big box of food for my son to the car. They were happy to learn that his disability came through for him.

I stood in the coldness a moment, staring up at the steeple above my church, and then back at the line lingering at a door, I don't think I can forget how it felt to be one of them, there in the coldness waiting for the food.

I don't know where all the foods come from. Stores give some. Other places donate items like beans and noodles, even a package of cranberries big enough for families. My son really appreciated getting the help.

I've been trying to convince my grandson it's better for him to be in college now, than to spend his time on low paying jobs that won't much help his future. In talking with him I figured out he's not sure he can do it well. He has this mixed up notion that a GED is not as good as being in school.

I tried explaining there's more than one way of learning, but that doesn't mean how you do it doesn't count. What he was really saying is he does not think he can. Times like this, grand mothers need to think of something, so I told him if he held on to his opinion, he might convince himself even more, but he still wouldn't be educated, and he would be arguing with the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and maybe the Marines. (I'm not sure about the Navy Seals) because I think some military branches now teach recruits how to earn GED's.

Imagine how happy I was when I took the food box to my son and grandson today, and they told me they plan to check with a nearby college for information and details on how to start the needed paper work. If I could send you a cute little picture of myself, my ankles would be suspended as I'm clicking my heels. and repeating: "The yellow brick road leads to higher learning". "What if he can!, What if he can!"

I thank all of you who prayed for my son needing help with being disabled. I wish you could know how much he has changed his life, while having a very hard time just trying to get by. This is a huge blessing for him. My next prayer request is that my grandson heads for college, so his future has a better chance of doing well. How do I love my Lord, may I never forget.

  posted at 11:08 PM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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