Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Piddlin' and organizin'

I really like the time between Christmas and New Year's--its a time for clearing out, cleaning out, organizing, filling a bag for Goodwill, filling a bag for garbage, thinking and rethinking about what to throw and what to keep. I just finished organizing my bathroom cabinet and threw out a large bag of "I don't need that stuff." Gives one a good feeling, almost a feeling of power.

Have you heard about the movement to "keep only 100 things"? Things besides built-in home devices, that is. Could you do it? I could not--don't think I could even do 1,000 things. However, I am working on letting some things go. I can only imagine the picture of Brandon and Sheryl walking in after I am gone and trying to figure out what to do with what's left.

I have labeled and taken pictures of those things which are antique and handed-down, in case they want to keep them. If I could only find the pictures now. :(

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Moments of Grace

For about the two weeks, I have been the recipient of many moments of grace. Last Wednesday night, coming back from baby-sitting, I ran over a huge pallet in the road at about 12:30 p. m.The setting was very dark and very cold. Fortunately, a y oung couple turned around after they had passed me, and came and sat with me until Brandon could come. I got to know AAA very well for the next few days. After being towed home that Wed. night, I had them tow me to WalMart for new tires. Walmart could not help me because the rims of the tires were also ruined, so AAA towed me back home. Then the next day, they towed me to Nolensville Collison where I finally got the car fixed and back to me on Christmas Eve. All along, AAA drivers, Walmart (which amazingly did not charge for taking off the tires and putting the damaged ones back on) and Marcel at the repair shop, as well as the Hertz people who not only delivered a car to me, but also took me home after I returned it, so many nice people!!!

And Christmas--we couldn't have asked for a better holiday--lots of fun with the kids (how often are you as excited about anything as they are about Santa?) lots of good food at BST and Sheryl's and lots of nice gifts made the holiday very special. My very favorite gift is a huge picture of the family holding hands running along the beach. Another favorite gift is a brightly-colored funky cup from NYC with a big red apple, the Crystler Bldg, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty on it.. I want to go back to the big city some day. Brandon and I spent two Christmases there after Sam died.

And now with many good memories and an empty bank account, I look forward to a new year. I hope all who read this blog will prosper, pray, and grow in joy in 2009.

Monday, December 15, 2008

On An Evening in December

On a recent evening in December (Saturday) Mommie and Daddy had to work quite late (2:20 a.m.) and so the 3 munchkins came to spend the night with Nonnie.

After watching Charlie Brown's Christmas, Rudolf, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and various other cartoons, we settled down to bed which quite an adventure. It was Sam's turn to sleep in my bed, but Ella was complaining because she thought she should--so Sam invited her to join us and said he would not feel squished. Queen-Maddie-Who-Doesn't-Like to Be-Touched-While-Sleeping got the pallet on the floor.

I don't think I slept more than 5 minutes at a time, as Ella (a flailer) turned over and over--I was afraid she would fall off, and Sam just burrowed down into his pillow, but he woke up at 1:30 saying he was thirsty, and then again at 5:30 done for the night. All in all it was fun--it is so sweet to watch them all sleeping and peaceful. I came to think that Sam has the profile of my father as I watched him. Beautiful, beautiful children all!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Isaac Watts

McMurry University's professor Cook( in Abilene, Texas) was a renowned scholar of Isaac Watts. I got to hear her speak of him one time and was amazed at how much this man, born in the 1600's had influenced church music.

He grew up in a Non-comformist home and early had a penchant for verse which drove his parents crazy. Once when he was being punished for using it too much, he said, "O father, do some pity take and I will no more verses make." His verse-making stood him good stead as he wrote almost 750 hymns. Many of them, my fellowship would recognize, although most of them were in the Methodist Hymnal. "Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed", "Come Ye That Love the Lord", "O God Our Help in Ages Past", "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "Joy to the World" are a few of his creations. He led the way in Christian worship for "original songs of experience"--tradition then was to use only the Psalms and poetry of the Bible for hymns as John Calvin suggested. So he led the way for a whole new wave of poetry and new writers in hymnody.

Because "Joy to the World" is one of my favorite Christmas hymns, I always think of him when I sing" and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing..."

Thank you Isaac Watts for worship with your beautiful words.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas in Song

I love the fact that at least two Nashville radio stations are playing Christmas songs all day--when I turn on the radio, it's like God is giving me a sweet gift. Personally, I have a rather large collection of Christmas CDs, and I begin playing them in my car in early November. I try to buy one a year--my new one this year is Amy Grant's The Christmas Collection. I was somewhat disappointed in this one because it seems to be a rerun of all of her others (which I own and play).

However, not all entertainers can do Christmas--when my alarm came on this week, Bruce Springsteen was singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Please!!! Not good.

We also began singing Christmas hymns in worship today. I love them all, but some are hard to sing. I've been trying to come up with which one is my favorite--I think it has to be "Joy to the
World." How about you?

Friday, December 05, 2008

Christmas Nostalgia

Shakespeare wrote about the "rembrance of things past."-- but The Teacher warns, "Do not say 'why were the old days better than these?' For it wise not to ask such questions." Ecc. 7:10. Florence King writes, "True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories." This all sounds a little negative, to say the least.

Yet, I believe that nostalgia (more than commerce and greed) is what fuels Christmas. After watching several hours of Hallmark Christmas shows, I firmly agree. From those early days when Clement Moore wrote about the jolly man in the red suit smoking a pipe, humans have found wave upon wave of ways to celebrate this season.
Our memories of Christmases with relatives, of our first bike or doll under the tree, of those showy desserts that always show up only on Christmas tables, of the pictures in our minds of huge snowflakes falling all around brightly decorated house simply beg us to remember those good days. So, I am all for nostalgia and for the remembrances it fosters and for the joy it engenders. Hail to my "ephemeral composition" and Humbug to those who
would pour cold water on the celebration.

The recession could be the cold water--but Dollar Stores help ease the pain. And we all know, when we stop to shopping long enough to think, that just seeing joy in children's faces is enough reason to buy that much-desired toy.
I don't know how my parents afforded some of the things we got for Christmas, but I do remember the thrill of getting the bike and the doll. Yes, things are much more expensive now than they were 60 years ago; however, the law of averages might prove otherwise. As our income has increased so has the price of our toys. After trolling the aisles of
Toys R Us and barely escaping injury from crowded carts filled to the brim with toys of all kinds, I know there are many boys and girls who are going to have a merry Christmas. (Of course, I know there are many who won't, but have you contributed to the Angel Trees, and to Y.E.S. and the myraid forms of help to those who are needy?. I have.)

It is such an unusual way to celebrate the coming of our Savior, yet one remembers that He was the greatest Gift of all, and that he never failed to give something (even cold water) to those He touched.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Marble and Mud

Nathaniel Hawthorne once said, "Life is made up of marble and mud." The events of the past few days attest to that adage.

Musing about the sudden death of Prentice Meador and the empathetic feelings I have for Barbara brought back memories of those painful early widowhood days. Days when I was getting used to the absence of my love for 30 years, the empty chair at the table, the empty space on the right side of the bed, the lifeless clothing hanging in the closet, the empty pew beside me on Sunday morning, the grieving child, and days when I wondered what life would bring next. Fortunately those feelings subsided, and life became golden again (although with spaces still missing). And mud became marble.

Marble days abound in December--I can't go into any store (even the grocery store) without wonderful memories and excitement for the days to come with Maddie, Ella and Sam anticipating Santa. I have finally finished decoraating my house with many, many, many, many things collected over the past 47 years. Phew! I do love those lights on the tree and the stories behind some of the decorations. There are two white angels on my end table that Sam brought to our marriage--still intact (though with one glued wing)--and my favorite from him--a band of musicians made out of paper and colored pipe cleaners. I believe he bought them in the 50's. And a new decoration for the tree: Snowflake wooden frames holding the school pictures of Maddie, Ella and Sam. What joy!

Thank you God for the marble and mud of this life.