Saturday, December 25, 2010

Growing Up

Last night, Jonathan "caught me" in the bathroom closet, filling Christmas stockings. He looked at me and said, "So, it's true!" My heart sank. Nobody had ever really TOLD him...and bless his heart, he still held a spark of longing for the wonder. So, my boy grew up a little bit tonight, and I never expected it. As my husband said, "Well, at least now we don't have to eat those cookies and drink that beer he always leaves for Santa!"

And, true, this is the first year that Jonathan has not left a note for Santa, and some carrots for the reindeer, and a beer to quench that fat old man's thirst. And, true, we don't have to write a reply with our left hand, thanking him for his generosity!

Life changes, and things stay the same. It's all so interesting and beautiful and confusing and sad. But mostly it's a lesson in learning, and that's a good thing.

Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm a Genius!!

Well, we finally brought the Christmas tree up from the cellar this afternoon! It got put together pretty fast, with help from Warren. And then...

...I worked each branch into a "natural" form. This took quite awhile to finish - it's a 10' tree! I took a bit of a rest, and then went over to the Christmas boxes.

"What are you doing?" Warren asked, a look of fear on his face.
"I'm going to put the lights on the tree!" I replied, hoping for the next question ("Need help?") which did not occur.
"Well, isn't that nice!" he said.

Many years ago, I remember dropping by my parents' home one evening in December. I put my key in the lock and helped myself into the house. My dad was sitting on the couch, reading. "Hi Dad!" He grumbled some response. I noticed that their table-top artificial tree had been put up. I also noticed the lights and thought, "OMG! Those lights are horrible!" I walked into the kitchen, in search of my mother, who I hoped would be happier to see me than my dad was!

Mom was in the kitchen, rinsing some dishes in the sink. I saw her wiping her eyes.

"What's wrong, Mom?" I asked.
"Oh, honey, nothing's wrong. I'm just being stupid about the Christmas tree lights." she replied.
I gave her a kiss and said, "Hang on. I'll take care of it."

I went back into the living room and sat by my dad, making some small talk. Then I said, "The tree sure looks nice! Wow, those lights are really something." And they were. They were very heavily laden on the branches - as if someone had sort of dropped the whole strand and they landed, and they were done. They were horrid.

Thinking to myself that this would be a very bold move, but reminding myself that I no longer lived there so would not have to endure the after-effects of my actions, I stood up and began re-arranging the lights. My dad kept reading. I think he was so mad he didn't care if I had removed all of them. My mom stayed in the kitchen.

I worked and worked. By the time I was finished, that little tree looked all lit up, but there was not one sign of a cord in sight. Somehow, I'd woven them all into the branches. Felling pretty proud of myself, I said "Don't you think that looks a little better?" My dad said, "What do I know? Ask your mother!"

So I did. Mom came out of the kitchen and her face just lit up. "Thank you, Mary! It looks so much better! I tried to tell your dad that's not how you put lights on a tree, but he just got mad at me."

Tonight, I remembered this story as I wove the cords of lights between the branches. It was a lot of work! By the time I finished, I was sweating. Warren came over - right as I was finishing - and said, "Wow! You're a genious!"

I said, "I am?"

"Yes! It looks great!" he insisted.

Who knew? I think I learned how to be a genius from my mom. My temper, I learned from my dad! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Feeling Loved

This evening, after hearing the news of Elizabeth Edwards' young life coming to it earthly end, I received two emails from two people who know me pretty well. They thought about me when they heard of her death. She is one of my life heroes. I want to share these emails with you, and my responses to them.

Dear Mary,
   Don just told me he’d read on Google that Elizabeth Edwards had died.   I know you will grieve over this and that you were a great fan of this lovely lady.   Know I have you in my heart.   Peace and good - Sally

I’m so saddened by this news. I found out before your email came. Just hung up from talking to Amy. What a great woman. Now I MUST read her second book; her first was incredible.

Thanks for the love.


Dearest Mary,

I know you must be grieving deeply today, for I remember how much Elizabeth's books and her life meant to you.
Are you okay?

Anne Marie

How sweet of you, Anne Marie! Thank you. Yes, my heart is very heavy tonight. I watched a beautiful report on her on MSNBC this morning, and remember thinking, “I hope she lives past Christmas.” I didn’t have any idea she was so gravely ill.

Her spirit will live on in millions of women who probably believed in her much more than her husband. I have to keep reminding myself that SHE is the winner in all this, even though it appears he is. I just ache for her children, more than anything. She’s fine now.

As it turns out, tonight was the monthly Healing Service at St. Luke’s, so I had the opportunity to sit quietly and think about her and say an extra prayer for her children. I’m okay. God’s in charge. There’s nothing I can do. God will take care of me and you and everyone else who will miss her passionate and lovely presence on this earth.

Perhaps I should make a SoulCollage card about her. And I’ll start wearing that button I have: Elizabeth Edwards for First Lady. She sure won that campaign, didn’t she?

Love you. Thanks so much.


May God bless her beautiful children, and may her light perpetual shine upon all of us. Thank you, God, for sharing this beautiful woman with us.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Late, as usual!

You'd think, being the "First Family" of a church, that we'd be the "first" to have our Christmas decorations up and lights in the windows. We always talk about it. It just never happens. So, here we are on December 6th and still no tree up! I did put battery-operated tea lights in the windows, but they've already gone dead!

So tonight, I remembered the lights I'd strung around our mantle this summer - to brighten things up. They are still there, my only invitation so far into this season of Advent - waiting - for Christmas to happen. I rather love the effect these lights have on me.

Late or not, at least the feeling of Christmas is in the air. And did I mention that our Christmas Cactus is blooming - right on time!