Wednesday, December 26, 2012


It's the day after Christmas. 

I was able to sleep in a little this morning. Hubs had already gone to work.  When I went in the kitchen I saw the signs of what he had for breakfast- pie crumbs.  It made me smile. I got my coffee and called him just to say, "Good morning." 

Daughter was still asleep.  I quietly opened her door to let out the dog, Jessie.  She went outside and did what she needed to do and ran back inside.  It's cold and windy today.  A cold front rolled in last night.

I came inside and turned on the tree, along with the little tabletop tree with my White House Christmas ornaments.  Then I sat down, turned on the TV and sipped my coffee, thinking about the day.  I'm planning to go to a few stores for after Christmas bargains later.

Some of the remnants of Christmas still sit in the living room. There are gifts to put away and a tiny Reese's cup wrapper I forgot to throw away.

Another day after Christmas.

It has been almost two weeks since I heard the news of Newtown.  Since then I've written and re-written post after post.  I kept wanting to say something, write something, do something.  I kept thinking of the mothers who were planning funerals while I was buying Christmas gifts.  There is something about such evil at Christmas that has made it so much more troubling. 
Time after time I kept staring at the laptop trying to write and the words just wouldn't come. 
Then Sunday night I was driving home from one last shopping trip when a familiar song by Michael W. Smith  played.  It expressed what I think a lot of us have been feeling this Christmas season.  It left me in tears as I drove in the dark.

Welcome To Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that You don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
World now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for them
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God

Welcome to our world

It is at Christmas that we talk about peace.  We declare it on Christmas cards and sing about it in church.  Newtown was a reminder that we still long for peace. It is when the routines of our lives are interrupted with evil that we realize how much we need to hear from God.

According to the calendar, Christmas is over. Today is the day people begin to take down their decorations.  Some will leave them up until New Year's Day.  We'll pack up our ornaments and the nativity.  We'll climb on the roof to take down all of the lights. One evening I'll be handing Hubs all the boxes as he puts them away in the attic.

Pretty soon the stores will begin new displays for Valentine's Day. Santas will be replaced with pink hearts and red candy boxes.  Within weeks you will barely see any sign of Christmas in our homes or in the stores. 

My mother's heart hurts for the mother in Newtown who didn't get to watch her child open Christmas gifts yesterday.  For her, it isn't just the day after Christmas. It is the week after a funeral.  Today is  another day she has to find the strength to put one foot in front of the other. Tonight is another night she can't read Green Eggs and Ham one more time.

So I ask God to heal her heart, to wrap His arms around her and help her get out of bed every morning. Help her when the birthdays come and go, when she smells play dough and cries, when she sees a child in a store that is the age her child would have been.

I ask God to teach me something.  Teach me to slow down, to hug my child more, to love my husband more, to care for my friends more.

That Holy night when the angels declared the birth of Jesus to the shepherds was the beginning of the message of Christmas.  It's a message that has been celebrated for thousands of years, a message of peace and hope that only Jesus Christ can bring to our hearts. 

Our broken, burdened hearts.

I pray for Newtown as they heal.  I pray that God will give them peace.

And that, even though the calendar says Christmas has come and gone, that all of us will keep the message of Christmas in our hearts long after the last string of lights is packed away.

 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4: 7  


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The little lights aren't twinkling.

Hubs was headed to Wal-mart on Saturday to pick up some things when he asked if I needed anything. 

I said, "Yes, a new rake."

"A rake?" he said.

"Yep.  Daughter and I are going to rake the front yard today and we only have one rake.  So, get me another one. Get a big one, not a skimpy one," I said.

We have a maple tree out front that has officially shed all of its leaves and I was past due on raking them all up. With some of the things we've had going on, I just did not have the chance to do it. Daughter said she would help me so we set out to do some yard work.

"Anything else?" Hubs asked.

"Yes, " I said, "Get some Windex outdoor cleaner so I can hose off the house and porch."

Now the reason Hubs was going to Wal-mart was to get clips to hang lights on our house.  Saturday was the only day he could hang lights (yes, the calendar is that full around here) and be able to enjoy the lights in time for Christmas. 

Since Hubs was hanging lights on the house, I wanted to be sure the front porch was hosed off. We keep our porch light on at night and all the bugs in Florida are attracted to it.  The little, green tree frogs love it, but it sure is an eyesore when the bugs decide to choose the porch as their final resting place. 

When Hubs told me he needed to buy clips, I was pretty certain we already had some.  He said he couldn't find them, and with all the moving we do, I wondered if they were lost.

He left for Wal-mart and I cleaned house.  I still wondered if I could find the clips in the Christmas boxes, so I searched through all the plastic containers in the garage. There they were in a sandwich bag amongst the ceramic Christmas houses, which made PERFECT sense.  (Wonder who packed that? Ahem. Me.)

So I texted Hubs to tell him I found the clips, but he decided to get extra anyway.

He is very thorough and prepared.  He used to be a boy scout.

Our roof line is very steep and apparently our ladder doesn't reach to the gutters over the garage.  So Hubs had to repel down the roof in a makeshift harness in order to hang the lights.  I reminded Daughter that this was how much her Daddy loves her while praying to the Good Lord above that he wouldn't fall off the house. 

Meanwhile Daughter and I raked the front yard. Thankfully there is only one maple tree and a small magnolia, so it didn't take all afternoon. By the time we were finished Hubs had hung the lights on the house, but I still had not hosed off the porch.

I asked him if it was safe to still clean the porch after he had put all the lights on and he reassured me it was.  When I was finished I plugged in the house lights to see the results.

Nothing.  Nada.

I jiggled wires and plugs and tried again.

Still nothing.

I stuck my head inside the house and said,"The little lights aren't twinkling."

There was a chuckle from inside.

"No, seriously, the little lights aren't twinkling."

Hubs got up from the sofa to check everything and said it was probably because the wires were all wet. He flipped circuit breakers and switches.  Still nothing.

Hubs had tested the lights when he was done, but now that I had hosed the porch, they didn't work.
I felt terrible, but he assured me that I had not ruined the Christmas lights that he had so diligently and dangerously hung on the house.  He said everything just had to dry out.

I am happy to report that the Christmas lights are now functioning. We did, however, discover that the outdoor outlet is not.  That may require a call to the electrician and possibly a repair. I am fine with that and just relieved I didn't ruin the Christmas lights.

I'm pretty sure Hubs has retired the homemade harness and doesn't plan to repel down the roof any time soon.

Except for when he has to take the lights all down...  

Friday, December 07, 2012


Lately it seems that I just can't get enough grits.  Maybe it's because it's turned cold or maybe it's because I'm just strange. Either way, I have eaten my share of grits in the last few weeks. (I type this as they simmer on the stove, so forgive me if this is short.)

Grits are one of my comfort foods. Everyone has their own comfort food- mashed potatoes, oatmeal, beef stew, chicken soup. Grits are mine.  Plus, Thai green curry chicken, which is another story, but thank you, Favorite Thai Restaurant.  Thank you.

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. Grits.  (I have to hurry before the timer goes off.)

Every time I take a bite of grits it reminds me of home and childhood, or the smell of the gas stove in Mama's kitchen.  On chilly mornings, Mama always turned the oven on and slightly opened the oven door. It quickly warmed the kitchen, in addition to our household heating system.  I can remember the smell of a warming oven as I sat there at the table and ate breakfast. 


Sometimes Mama fried an egg for me and I mixed them in.  (If you've never tried this, don't judge. It's yummy.) Sometimes I actually put ketchup on my grits, without the egg, of course.  I still don't remember why I ever put ketchup on them because I sure don't do that now, but my only guess is that I was a kid and put ketchup on everything. 

Grits also make me think of fried catfish and good hush puppies. A lot of people in the South eat grits with their fish.  Most of the time it's cheese grits, but sometimes they're plain.  Grits and fish just go together.  Much better than grits and ketchup, I might add.

Oh, my time is up! The grits are ready.

While I check the stove, please let me know about your comfort foods and what memories they bring up.  I'm going to fix myself a bowl of grits.  This time I think I'll just add butter.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Just Living The Dream

Well, I have about ten, count them, ten posts in the "draft" stage.  I have developed this new habit of writing something and then not finishing it.  The post gets stashed into the draft stage to collect grammatical dust bunnies. 

I'm not even sure grammatical is a word.

So I decided that this morning I am going to just write and write 'til my little heart's content and not worry about grammar or anything.

(I may still twitch a little.)

It has been science fair time at our house.  Lucky for me, Daughter did not choose anything related to dead crabs or red snapper scraps.  If you are new here, that is a reference to last year's fair when my kid's project involved soaking fish bones, chicken bones, crab shells, and oyster shells in vinegar.  I didn't really want her to be handling raw fish, so I volunteered to help "prepare the specimens,"  one of which was a blue crab which had gone very, very bad.

This is also when I decided to give up my lifelong dream of becoming a fishmonger.

I'm still trying to get over it.

This year Daughter decided to test amounts of gluten in a variety of baking flours.  And guess what!  Flour does not stink up the kitchen!  GLORY!

It does, however, seem to float in the air and land all over the place like inside kitchen drawers and down cabinet doors. She did her best to clean up, but I was finding flour in the kitchen for days. The thing about flour is that when you try to clean it up it just makes a paste.  Then you have to clean up the paste, but you can't let it dry because then it hardens and you have to flake it off and...

There goes my other lifelong dream of becoming a baker.

The other thing I've been trying to do is keep warm.  Last week it dipped below 50 degrees here several times and I was freezing.  I am also 80 years old.  Really, it's a good thing we live in Florida.

My feet are always cold and I wear my fuzzy slippers around the house. They were a gift from Daughter last Christmas and they are quite toasty. I wear them with pretty much everything while I'm at home.

In fact, it's a little chilly right now. It may have just dipped below 70 in the house.

So I think I'll search for my fuzzy slippers.

And also re-evaluate my other lifelong dream of becoming a fashion icon.