As in Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, our “stockings were hung by the chimney with care” … save one minor detail – we don’t actually have a chimney, just a mantelpiece (where a gas insert is supposed to go). Twenty stockings in all were hung, one for each of our grown offspring, as well as the in-laws and grands, with an extra stocking included for my Beloved’s brother who lives nearby.
Given the number of people coming together, our Christmas gatherings usually have a boisterous and sometimes chaotic quality. Children are everywhere, running inside and out, upstairs and down, constantly asking when we eat next, or more importantly, is it time to open presents yet!
The pandemonium was short-lived this year. Because Christmas fell on a Monday, out-of-town family members were quick to depart. A ski slope beckoned. Others had work responsibilities. The adults didn’t even have time for a customary late-night poker match.
Once the house fell silent, I remembered a blog post I’d read before Christmas: Why Christmas Never Lives Up to the Buildup. Posted by Tony Reinke, a senior writer at DesiringGod.org, the post mainly addresses Christians living in what Reinke calls “the space between.” (With both Christmas and my birthday coming on the same day, I experience this “buildup” as a kind of double whammy.)
There is no greater gift than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose birth we celebrate during this season. May you know real joy, real peace and real love that originate with our Creator and are made manifest through His Son.
I bid you a Merry Christmas and a 2018 filled with blessings!
Since the passing of my mother-in-law on March 1st, my Beloved and I have sifted and sorted through the tangible mementos she left behind. There are photographs and slides aplenty, so I set myself to digitizing as many as possible to add to our (informal) family archive.
Scanning the vast collection of photos/slides, etc. required lots of time … and I’m not finished yet! What’s more, the stack of photos seemed to multiply every time we opened another box! My initial enthusiasm diminished as the number of digital images grew and my eagerness took an unexpected turn to frustration.
I had a nagging sense something was missing. But what?
In my mind, the possibility of a personal, written memoir (or several, if fortune smiled) would help flesh out an understanding of my mother-in-law that forty-seven plus years of being her daughter-in-law had not achieved. By digging deeper, I thought to solve the mysteries of Inscrutable Daisy. Continue reading “Papers, Please?”→
My mother-in-law died last week. She turned 94 last October, so her passing wasn’t unexpected. In addition to dementia (which prevented verbal communication), she suffered congestive heart failure. Bed-bound over the last six months, she slipped away quietly in her sleep. That was a blessing.
Our culture reveres survivors … and rightly so! The stories of concentration camp and holocaust survivors so stir our emotions, we often see these stories turned into movies. The Diary of Anne Frank was produced multiple times. I’m surprised The Hiding Place (from 1975) hasn’t been remade. In 2014, Unbroken was produced and directed by actress Angelina Jolie who deemed the survivor story of Louis Zamperini compelling.
Cancer survivors have their unique stories. Sexual assault survivors reveal horrific tales of abuse and torture. Given the admiration we accord survivors today, marketers exploit our curiosity by producing numerous movies, games and television series with a survival theme. (I must confess my fascination with Alone, now in its third season on the History Channel.) Continue reading “Survivors All”→
Given the bleak title, people may automatically expect to read a wretched tale announcing I’ve contracted a dreadful (probably incurable) illness. Not so for this post, though there’s no avoiding the truth: my days are numbered.
Frankly, so are yours. Though we try to forget it, we are all mortal. As 2016 wound down and the obits began to stack up, we became ever more cranky reading the list of friends, family, celebs and high-profile individuals whose days had ended, some whose days were seemingly “cut short.” Mortality sucks, doesn’t it?
I’ve decided a similar message should apply with respect to social media. Maybe something like this: Friends don’t let friends contrive junk. I know, I know! It’s clunky and doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely as the Ad Council declaration. But the meaning should resonate.
The sterile contrivance that is socialmedia purports to keep us “connected” to friends and family. In truth, it’s a time-consuming distraction that draws us away from numerous activities and human interactions which once occupied our time and attention.
Social media in its varied applications also tends to work as an echo chamber … a mishmash of individual posts to which others respond by clicking share or like. But for me, the dreaded copy, paste and post if you agree is most exasperating. What if I agree with a post but choose not to copy, paste and post? Is my non-compliance misconstrued? (Oh, dear! What will people think if I don’t comply?)Continue reading “Between Friends”→
Southern Living has long been one of my favorite magazines, one of the few print magazines to which I steadfastly subscribe. While leafing through a recent issue newly retrieved from my mailbox, one full-page ad (pictured below) caught my eye. Now you might assume the radiant, air-brushed smile is what drew my attention … but no.
Maybe it was the fragrance ? If you’ve thumbed through a print magazine lately, you may have noticed an uptick in scent strip promos for perfume and cologne products. Scent strips can be helpful. They provide fragrance samples so you won’t plunk down a substantial sum just to learn the scent is awful. But the multiple competing scents in a magazine’s single issue might easily lead to sensory overload!
So, no, it wasn’t the toothy expression nor the unexpectedly subtle fragrance, both of which are skillfully designed to generate interest and drive sales. Surprisingly, the text drew me in!
Take a closer look at the tag line: Life is beautiful.The Fragrance of Happiness.
With a simple search, I learned there were other tag-lines attached to Lancôme’s La vie est belle advertising. The overall theme of Life is beautiful extends naturally from the French phrase. One tag-line declared Life is beautiful. Live It Your Way. Another: Life is beautiful. Choose Your Own Path to Happiness.
Not long after our December wedding, I acquired two heart-shaped metal pans, perfectly sized for use in baking a suitable Valentine’s cake for my Beloved. (Though we were relatively broke, I justified the purchase … the cost of a new card every Valentine’s Day over our lifetime together would add up, but these baking pans could be used over and over, every single year!)
As the number of our shared Valentine’s Days now edges ever-closer to fifty, our focus swerves beyond the traditional declarations of heart-shaped love. Few store-bought cards and still fewer cakes have surfaced because the occasional hastily-written love poem or hand-drawn note represents a sweeter treasure. Continue reading “Care Bear”→
On separate occasions over the last couple weeks, two of my grandchildren have asserted: “My house is bigger than yours.” Perhaps this is a twenty-first century equivalent to the claim from my era: my dad is stronger than your dad!
When the five-year old initially made the statement, I gently disagreed with him. “Yes, you live in a big house, but not as large as this one.” Factually, I was correct but this grandson would have none of it. Some weeks later, when my four-year old granddaughter posited the identical suggestion, I admitted the possibility. (She does live in a larger home than the grandson.) Continue reading “The Big House”→