Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So how were your holidays, Earth Girl?

Christmas Tree
The moon was full and the night was cold. Our impossible mission was to find a tree that would fit in the house. In 1995, we planted 25 Scotch pines on our tree farm to provide us with Christmas trees, but they have grown like Topsy, not pruned into the ideal conical Christmas tree shape. After wandering up and down Christmas tree row (watch out for the briars!), the beam of our flashlight at last lighted a passable specimen, a 30 foot specimen. We cut it off midway and brought it home. We cut it off again. And again. The tip of the tree that made it into the stand in our house was a poor reflection of the nicely shaped tree we saw in the moonlight. Lights and ornaments and huge sprays of red berries disguised a lot of imperfections.

Kolachi, date balls, key lime cookies, homemade caramels, lemon coconut squares, cut-out sugar cookies, cranberry bread, crispy cookie coffeecakes, lemon balm pound cake. No wonder my pants are snug this morning.

Making Gifts
I am not a crafty person (in all senses of that phrase). But I decided to make a scrapbook for my mother-in-law chronicling her birthday party and their fall hayride. This took me hours, but I improved as I completed page-after-page. She loved it, especially the pictures at the sand pit, the hayride destination, because she could not ride in the wagon and missed that fun.

I have been working on compiling Mom's recipes into a cookbook as a gift to my family for over three years now. Family pictures and stories are interspersed throughout the cookbook. It's at the place where I need a killer design for the cover and a really good editor. When I look at it, I love it and I hate it. I think that is about normal for such a project. My niece Jennifer agreed to edit it, so perhaps this gift will be ready to print soon.

Ice and Snow and Rain
A few years ago, REMC buried the lines in our heavily wooded neighborhood because we often lost power. When the bad ice storm hit, we had power. We lent our two kerosene heaters to friends without power. Then on Sunday as temperatures hit subzero, we lost power. Steve started the generator and we plugged in a small electric heater. As he went to retrieve one of our kerosene heaters, Ricky and I played word games by candlelight. (Steve didn't understand why we didn't plug a lamp into the generator, but candlelight was much more dramatic.) When he got home, we gathered up an elderly neighbor and her dog and brought them to our house. Her plan was to crawl into bed and heap on the quilts. As soon as we settled in, power was restored. I am so blessed to have a competent prepared husband.

I'm 19
If I hear this one more time from one son, I'm going to scream! OK, so I did respond several days ago with "So, I'm 59." He thinks our rules, especially curfew, no longer apply to him. This "letting go", a euphemism for ripping apart the family structure, is not easy on either the parents or the sons. I just can't wait for him to be fully emancipated and our relationships restored. If you think I'm being overly dramatic, you have not experienced this stage. As parents, we have worked hard toward the goal of independence for him, but he is so immersed in it that he can't see that we are all working to the same ends. The biggest sticking point is "If you live in our house, you obey our rules."

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

I am gobsmacked that this article was published in The Times (UK): As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.

I hardly ever (never?) read positive articles about Christians, let alone missionaries, in the secular press, but I have heard first-hand testimony to their effectiveness my whole life.