Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God -- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-6, 10-14)

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. May you be blessed with family, friends, joy, health, and most of all, the love of Jesus, the Incarnate One.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Tree Memories

Putting up the Christmas tree has never been my favorite task. In fact, next to taking it down, it’s one of my least favorites. I confess: I’m not a fan of Christmas. Not that I don’t love the carols and lights and even the gifts. But our family and friends have bought in to the American dream Christmas—lots of gifts, lots of entertaining, lots of money, and lots of time. And in the process, I think we miss the Reason for the season. I know that my problem is that I run so fast in my normal life that adding the demands of Christmas stretches my energy and as I get older, my health. So I think that the task of putting up the tree is symbolic of all I dislike about the season.

When DS was living with us, he loved decorating the tree and from the time he was old enough to help, he took on more and more of the responsibility. But now he’s gone and it hardly seems worth the effort. Except that he and dear DIL are coming home for Christmas and they will appreciate it. And expect it.

But this year, I took time to reflect on the meaning of the ornaments—the memories—and the task became so much more tolerable. We’ve always decorated only with ornaments that have special meaning. In the early years my dear MIL made most of our ornaments. She was a crafty one and every year had a new project – needlepoint, beading, lace, wood. She did good work and our tree always had a unique look to it. As I hung those on tree, I thought of her and all she did for us. Yes, sometimes she was annoying, but her heart was good and we miss her. After her death we inherited the traditional ball ornaments that she used on her tree. I had always steadfastly avoided purchased balls, but these are from the 40s and 50s. They remind me of ornaments we had on my childhood tree. Now they hold places on honor on the tree. Memories.

When DS was little, we made a photo ornament of him every year. As I carefully placed them on the tree, I remembered the joy and delight of my little one. He was so cute! Memories. Then came the vacation souvenirs. The reindeer from Montana; the whale from Hawaii; the ceramic animals and straw angels from Mexico; the turtle from the Cayman Islands…. Each one brought back fond memories of precious family times.

Last came the nativity scene. I placed it in its place of honor beneath the tree, surrounded by dozens of angels. Most of the angels also have a story. There are the small fabric angels from a church tea I used to attend. There are the lace angels made by dear MIL. And the lighted porcelain angel that MIL gave me the last year she was with us. So many memories….

We finished the tree, turned down the room lighting, and turned on the tree lights. The little white lights that remind me of Disneyland. The tree almost sang of love and memories Ah, Christmas….

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Health Care Vote Scheduled

Obama Attends Senate Democratic Caucus Meeting

Harry Reid has scheduled a cloture vote on his 2000+ page health care bill for – get this – 1:00 AM on Monday, December 21. This after violating the Senate rules on Wednesday when he stopped the reading of the amendment offered by Senator Bernie Sanders. This after closed door meetings with President Obama and recalcitrant Democrats. And what does the bill include now? Who knows? Even Senator Reid doesn’t know. And what will it cost? Who knows? CBO might get it scored by Monday, but can we trust their numbers? Republicans suggest perhaps not.  Who will it cover? Who knows? Will it include a public option or coverage for abortion? Who knows?

There’s a huge rush to get this bill passed before Christmas? Why? Who knows? Why the need for a 1:00 am session? Are they hoping the opposition will oversleep? Who knows? The Democrat panic over this bill is palpable as they have refused any Republican input and as they continue to ignore the wishes of the people – at least 56% of whom prefer that Congress do nothing.  

This Congress is out of control and in panic mode. Yes, we do need health care reform, but not via a bill that even the author hasn’t seen. This is still America! If you have an opinion, let it be heard before 1:00 am Monday.

Personally, I'm feeling smooshed.

Photo Credit:

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Fiction Friday: Shattered Justice

Shattered Justice by my friend, Karen Ball, isn’t what I’d call Christmas reading, but it is deep, profound, and well written. Buy it for Christmas and read it in January. Karen is one of the best fiction editors in the business, and obviously a great writer as well.

In response to a tragedy in his life, Dan Justice becomes the deputy sheriff the small town of Sanctuary, Oregon, a sleepy village where everyone seems to know everyone else. His children gradually adapt and the family reaches out to a troubled youth. There is even a hint of romance. Then tragedy strikes again, challenging Dan’s fragile faith and sending him into a dark fog. How can he overcome this latest blow to his life? Can Dan find sanctuary in the light of God’s justice?

This book is the first in The Family Honor Series trilogy. I just picked up the second book, A Test of Faith. Can’t wait to read it!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Is Home Care the Answer?

As Mom’s ability to care for herself at home continues to decrease, one option I’ve been considering is home care. It seems like the perfect intermediate solution between self-sufficiency and assisted living. Having someone come in for a few hours per week or even a few hours per day to help with cooking, cleaning, and personal care would relieve a lot of my concerns. The Boston offers a helpful fact sheet on home care – how to find help, evaluate employees, and pay for the care. Useful reading.

Of course, convincing Miss Independent to accept help is another question. I haven’t figured that one out yet. And the Dems are messing with the Medicare home care option, so we may not have it for long. Always one more  challenge...


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Friday, December 04, 2009

Fiction Friday: Fossil Hunter

Fossil Hunter, by my friend John Olson, is a wonderful combination of 24, Indiana Jones, and Expelled. When paleontologist Dr. Katie James leads an expedition to search for an ancient whale fossil rumored to be in the Iraqi desert, she has no idea that her archrival, Nick Murad, will be searching for the same fossil. But then Katie makes a groundbreaking discover and is forced to collaborate with Nick to analyze the find before its destroyed by a fundamentalist government faction.

When Nick and Katie’s initial results fly in the face of current scientific theory, it seems the whole world turns against them, including those they thought they could trust. Then the fossil disappears, sending Nick and Katie on a chase that could cost them their reputations, their careers, and even their lives.

Set in contemporary Iraq and in the midst of the intelligent design debate, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat page after page. The characters are round and well developed and the plot is fast moving with more twists and turns than a roller coaster.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Squeezing Good Out of Bad

Is your life filled with lemons? Perhaps your life is fine, but someone you know is going through hard times. For example, two families in our small group have been forced to sell their homes in this down market. Another has a son in jail. I just learned today that my brother-in-law was laid off last week. And my brother expects to lose his job by the end of the year. My mom has been sick since Thanksgiving. Yep, times are tough for GenSandwichers and just about everyone else. And by all projections, getting tougher.

My friend James Watkins has written a simple little book to offer hope and humor in the midst of the lemons. He shares the top ten ways to squeeze the good out of those life-puckering situations. And Jim is a great guide since he's felt the squeeze of cancer, unemployment, family crises and chronic nose hair. Join him on the journey of making lemonade with hope and humor. You can buy a hard copy or download an electronic version at his website OR, if you’re unemployed, he’s offering a free download!

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