Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa Baby

For Songbird, who has never seen one. This is a statuette from Catholic Supply:

At this site, you can get the "whole" Kneeling Santa collection. I understand there's a cross-stitch pattern available.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The bah humbug Friday Five

The RevGalBlogPals ring asks five questions of its members every Friday. This one is leaning toward crabby christmastide, but since I haven't been writing very religiously ("Bad blogger, bad!") I thought I'd throw my coal into the stocking.

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....
1) dessert/cookie/family food
The miscellaneous yet ubiquitous 2nd rate candy: waxy chocolate, candy canes, stale ribbons. And, every plate of cookies or cakes that is very kindly given but enough for 12 people, unless I see it first. Especially the shortbread/spritz cookies that are made with nonbutter and no finesse.
Oh, golly, and rum/bourbon balls. What a waste of cocoa and spirits.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Hate eggnog. And don't tell me that if I just had yours I'd change my mind. It's like diner hollandaise, which I loved as a kid but can't even think about now.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
We've pretty much blown apart the traditions in our house and made them the way we want them. So I'll have to say consumerism.

4) decoration
Blown up anything on lawns. The image of Santa praying at Jesus' manger. Cutesy statuettes. Over-the-top electrics.

5) gift (received or given)
I've done some poor gift giving myself, just totally guessing wrong. Worst I've received? Any one I wasn't expecting from a giver expecting reciprocation. Or the childhood ones with long and strong strings.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.
Aaah, but there are so many to choose from. The whole Nutcracker. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. Christmas songs sung sexily, generally. All I Want For Xmas Is My 2 Front Teeth. And, truly, by 12/26, any background soft strings or Muzak version of anything.

Bad blogger! Bad!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

In honor of Black Friday, here is something from the Advent Conspiracy website.
Thank you, Jeanne.

by Jeanne McKinley

About a year ago I woke up to a strange hum. I was disoriented by it at first, didn't even know what the sound was, so I got up, looked out the window and saw a steady line of cars driving down the hill.
What in the world?
Are they evacuating the neighborhood and nobody told us?
I looked at the clock, it was 4:45am, then it hit me -- it was the day after Thanksgiving.
Black Friday.
I remember being blown away by the fact that my entire neighborhood was on their way to be the first ones out for the store buster prices, free socks or scarves or whatever other item the store would be dangling to bring us in, and then I had a moment of panic,
"Oh no, I'm going to miss it!"
I was missing the sales that would help me save money on Christmas presents!!
And then I remembered...
I had done that before, joined in the throng, jumped in the fray of craziness at 5am, I thought I had been missing something by not being a part of the American ritual of day after Thanksgiving sales. I realized, as I was standing in a line that wrapped around to the middle of the store that I had fallen for it, the idea that I needed to buy these socks at a great discount and that my family would be really excited about these fleece coats that were the "hottest thing" -- though I wasn't saving money because I had grabbed about 7 other things not on my list, but that I just Had to have.

I've been thinking about resistance today, the idea that this is my chance, as the holiday shopping season heats up, to resist. It's not easy. Resistance is a word that you feel, as I choose to not buy fun looking, sparkly junk that will put a momentary gleam in my children's eyes or make my house look pretty, I can feel that at times. As I choose to create things that will be meaningful and relational but will take effort and my time and frustration when it's not looking like I wanted it to, I feel that.

Here's something else -- I admit it -- maybe it's a girl thing but I love to shop. I love to spend money and buy things and I love to buy other people things and there's more -- I love to find the Perfect gift for someone, the thing they will absolutely LOVE. I love that feeling of "AH HA!" this is IT, and I'm going to be awarded the giver of the year award because I found THE present that will bring the most joy and happiness to that person, the gift that shows I know them best and have found the thing that resonates with them perfectly. The gift that they'll tell their friends about, "Jeanne got me that!"

Not pretty is it?

I can justify that feeling with the fact that I want to show my loved ones how much I love them by finding that perfect present but there's something I'm getting out of it as well, strokes, appreciation, people pleased with me.

No, not real pretty.

These are some things that God is redeeming in my heart this year as I refocus and rethink Jesus' birthday. The way I'm going to buy gifts and the way I'm going to give gifts. To give of myself as Christ gave to me. To hold my friends' and family's faces in my hands, look deep into their eyes and tell them how much I love them. And most of all to worship Christ in a beautiful, uncluttered way and to be free to love Him with all of me.

It's different, it's transformational and it feels really good.

Friday when I wake up to the hum of traffic, I'm going to roll over, pull the blankets tighter and cuddle with my hubby and I'm going to resist.

Resistance doesn't sound so bad after all does it?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Snoring companions


I've been asked to update puppy pics. So here is Tanq at his puppy kindergarten "graduation".

And one of our wonderfully patient cat, Jamba.
Yes, he's under the bed.

What gets in the way

I subscribe to this blog, which means that every time I log into my email account online, I am treated to a reminder of how long it's been since that slacker writer of Even You posted. Today it said "over three weeks."

How is that possible? How could three weeks have gone by without my doing something that matters to me, especially when my Outlook calendar has "Blog" as an appointment every day at 7, and my online email clearly states my dereliction? How is it that, even for the important things in our lives, stuff gets in the way?

I set my cell phone alarm for noon and five p.m. to remind me of midday and vespers prayers. Around the same time I created that system of remembering, I stopped doing my morning and bedtime fixed-hour prayers, and learned how to quickly disarm the alarm. How does that happen?

I'd like to blame it on newdog/work/holidays/congregation/husband/anythingotherthansloth, but that would be a lie. What gets in the way is my recent resistance to prioritizing what I claim is most important. The reality: scan your calendar and your Quicken, and you will know what your true priorities are.

Jesus said, ""store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." It seems that just now my treasure is not what I want it to be. So perhaps the first step (besides admitting my sin/sloth/distraction) is to assess my treasure and align my heart (and my daily schedule) to it.

Here I am, dogsnoring/workwaiting/holidayslooming/congregationpausing/husbandworking, writing. It's about time.

It's about God.