Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friday Five

I just couldn't pass up this week's Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals! For everyone who is on the Christmas-crazy edge, and will scream if they hear one more badly sung version of "Little Drummer Boy" playing in the stores, these questions are for you!

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....

1) dessert/cookie/family food
Lutefisk! It has been a part of my Christmas every year of my life, my parents love it, and I absolutely can NOT stand the smell. Or the texture. Or the taste. Or how it looks. (I don't think that leaves anything out!) (Sorry Dad, but that's the truth!)

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Hmmm....I just don't have really strong feelings on this one. I usually am not a big fan of the wine we have with Christmas dinner, but then I am a complete wine ignoramus!

3) tradition (church, family, other)
The annual argument between my darling husband and I about decorating for Christmas. After fourteen years, you'd think there would be a happy medium SOMEWHERE!

4) decoration
Those little toys or decorative objects that play loud holiday music or loudly say obnoxious holiday things, that seem to take forever to shut up. At which point my sweet girl will push their on button again, and off we go over and over again until mommy is ready to decapitate the stupid Christmas moose/cat/snowman/whatever the thing is. Can you tell I feel strongly about this?!?!

5) gift (received or given)
I do remember one really bad one I can share. When I was in Girl Scouts (or was it Brownies? Well, anyway...) we had a little Christmas party at a local pizza place. Each of us was to bring a gift (bought within a certain small spending limit), and they would be exchanged randomly amongst us girls. I agonized over this gift! I found the prettiest pair of barrettes, which I purchased, and was very proud of my selection. We got to the party, exchanged the gifts, and what was in the package I got? A pair of Strawberry Shortcake panties. All the other girls (literally) laughed and pointed at me, while they enjoyed their very cool presents. I was a sad little Girl Scout that day, who lost her Christmas cheer. Now wasn't that a lovely walk down memory lane!

On the other hand, there is the more positive flip side to these questions that I just can't pass up:

Please tell us your most favorite seasonal....

1) dessert/cookie/family food
How can I only pick one?!?! Lefse, Belgium cookies, rosettes, krumkakke, wreath cookies, cut-out cookies, Swedish meatballs....and so much more!

2) beverage
hot cider with cinnamon sticks or candy canes to stir

3) tradition (church, family, other)
Gathering with my whole family around the living room to open presents. The youngest ones pass out the gifts, the adults struggle to open and assemble kid's gifts, the laughter and thank-you's float above the din. It's lovely because we're together.

4) decoration
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches!

5) gift (received or given)
It's tough to name just one. When we gave my mom the new set of china when we were kids, and she cried. When us kids got Duchess the puppy in the Christmas stocking. My husband's first Christmas gifts to me when we were dating, so full of humor and love despite the limited budget (he's done well since, too!). The teapot and cup set I got from my oldest brother last year, it's just so perfect.

Well, that was fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday Reflections

It's been a Wednesday. It doesn't seem to matter how you slice it, when you're in the ministry, it's just going to be a crazy day. I'm sticking to my determination to carve out Advent moments most days, but Wednesdays challenge that BIG time. I think my confirmation students could have levitated through the roof, they were so full of energy. And I started the day with two meetings scheduled, and ended up with four. I think they multiply like hangers in the closet, or unmatched socks in the dryer.

Nonetheless, I do have some Advent sightings today, I'm glad to say.

1. During the morning meeting with my part-time secretary, at one point we were so off topic and laughing so hard, it took us several minutes to remember why we were meeting in the first place. That meeting made the rest of the day possible!

2. Lil' Princess wanted to hear every silly song I could think of while we were in the car and during her bath. At one point, while singing umpteen verses of "Down By the Bay," I discovered that the goofy rhymes could send her into gales of laughter (which is an awesomely wonderful sound!)

3. I managed to sneak in supper with my Pastor friend who lives down the road in the next town. She'd had a long hard day, funeral for a dearly beloved lady, followed by confirmation class. We had about forty lovely minutes of chatting, laughing, and eating that allowed her to finally relax and unwind. It was great to be able to help her do that, and spend the time together. I had Lil' Princess with, and she provided the entertainment by blowing bubbles in her chocolate milk!

I've come to realize that my Advent moments list today has a common denominator: laughter. Despite a really tough day, with some moments that left me in tears, I got to give and receive the gift of laughter today.

Thank you, gracious God, for your abundant blessings, and your generous outpouring of love, and especially for your precious gift of laughter today. Amen!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Advent Joy

Yay, it's Advent! Cha, Cha Cha! Shimmy, shimmy, tap, tap. (happy dance around the office)

Now, I know that we're supposed to get grumpy and up in arms about the Consumer- Frankensteinian, Cheap Plastic Santa co-opted, soul-less, mindless time that this has become in our culture. And I do get distressed over our selfishness and materialism that is so obvious and over-the-top at this time of year. I get as disgusted and dismayed too.


It's Advent, people!

Blue candles, lit in the evening in my darkening dining room, mirroring the blue candles lit in the slowly lightening sanctuaries that morning. Each day, the excitement of my daughter as we put one more figure in the nativity scene on the advent calendar. The anticipation of slowly and methodically decorating our home, a little more appearing each week. The whispered conversations and giggles over gift planning. Good smells of cookies baking, and even the mess of decorative sugars and sprinkles all over the counter and floor. Reading Jesus' story at bed time, retold in many different ways in the many different books my daughter has received, each one delighting us with a new way to look at the old story.

These are the real parts for us, parts of the anticipation, of the waiting, of the hoping. They are not perfect or stress free, nor do we expect them to be. But they are our moments to savor, in a life and a world that moves so quickly that we normally miss the savoring and go for the quick taste. I love this savoring time of the year, and I love that I get to share it with the people I adore and love.

I will hold on to Advent while the world swirls around me, and dance my happy dance while I can. Grab hold of the joy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So good to be happy

Sigh. Happy, happy, happy. It would be nice to bottle these little moments for later. Our dear friends left this morning. It was such a nice visit, it made me feel happy down to my toes. Of course, I wish they could have stayed longer, but we thoroughly enjoyed the time we had with them. This gives us such a nice lead-in into listing our blessings tomorrow for Thanksgiving!

And if that isn't enough, our cup is really going to run over. My Chem-bro and his sons are coming! They will be here Friday through Sunday! I wish his wife could come too, it won't be complete without her, but we'll take what we can get. They have a funeral in Rapid City, and then she needs to head to Missouri, so he and the kids will spend the weekend with us. Oh so very Yay!

Ah, life is good.

I'm sure I'll have something to grouch about in ten minutes, but for right now...aaaah, bliss.

Happy thanksgiving, Mom! I love you! I'll call you if you don't call me first!

Friday, November 16, 2007


I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open.

Why don't I just go to bed, you ask?

'cause it would take too much energy to get off my butt, wash my face, take my pill, put on my jammies, and crawl into bed.

How very pathetic.

It's been a long week. Funerals, sick and cranky child, distant husband, messy house, and so many needs in the parish waiting to be met.

On the bright side, we have wonderful dear friends coming to visit us this week, and some lovely down time for just the three of us over Thanksgiving. And my nice snuggly bed waiting for me across the hall. My dad has told me many a time that he's gotten to the point in his life where a nap, or sleep, is "delicious." I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm totally in sync with him on this. When we count blessings this coming week for our Thanksgiving celebration, sleep will be on my list!

What else is on the list?
1. Family, near and far. I love you and miss you!
2. Sweet moments of snugglies or silliness with my girl.
3. Kind and warm church communities.
4. Meaningful work.
5. Comfortable home, plenty to eat, clothes to wear. Many are not so lucky.
6. Forms of communication over long distance - phones and internet.
7. Friends who don't let miles stop the love.
8. Quiet content peaceful moments with my hubby.
9. Chocolate and diet Coke
10. God's faithfulness through all things.

So many more to list, but there's a good start for Thursday. Now, it's off to bed. My pillow calls my name with the soft promise of release and dreams.

Nighty night!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm 13 years old in Blog years

I'm discovering that I really would like to learn more about blogging. Such as - how to find cool pictures and video clips on the internet and put them on my blog, how to get connected to a web ring, and just generally how to do all the cool stuff you can do. As I read my favorite blogs everyday (and boy, is that list growing), it allows me to peek into the wider world. Now I need to figure out how I can communicate and interact with that world!

I tried to connect this blog to the web ring I REALLY want to be a part of, but it didn't work. In a very polite little email, the ring administrator informed me that my blog has not been viewed enough to be able to take part in the wider community. I didn't know this was based on popularity! Sorry mom, I guess you being my only reader makes me unsuitable for the larger public. Sigh. I might as well be back in junior high.

At least the music in junior high rocked. "Girls just want to have fu-un, oh, girls just want to ha-ave fun!" Ah, Cyndi Lauper, where are you when a girl needs you!