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Showing posts from December, 2013

The Tell-tale Dish Towel (My Homage to E.A. Poe)

True! – guilty —very, very guilty I am, but it was unintentional.  The act has made me aware of what I have done.  I know everything there is to know about heaven and hell, so I always intended to return the object, so – hearken! – and observe as I calmly tell you the whole story of how I came to steal the red dish towel from the church fellowship hall.
It is impossible to say when the idea first entered my brain; but once conceived, I made up my mind. I had no choice.  I had to take it and thus mop up the serving table of the mess I had caused.
You fancy me a thief, but thieves do not intend to return the objects they purloin. Stealing the dish towel was unintentional.  Object there is none.  I own dozens of dish towels of my own. Passion there is none. I hold no grudge or malice toward its owner. 
I think it was the spill!  The pooling spill that made me reach for the towel.  I had tried a handful of paper napkins but they were useless in my efforts to stay the spreading wave of mull…

Grandma’s Dining Table

Twenty five years ago my first husband and I bought a new home with four bedrooms and three baths, but my favorite part of the house was the enormous room you walked into from the front door. It had no dividing wall but the design was to use half of it as a formal living and the other half as a formal dining. From the beginning I decided to make it into one huge dining room that would catch the eye when everyone walked in through the front door of my home.   My three children were very young at the time, but I envisioned them grown and married. We counted five at the time, but one day we would grow to eight, maybe more if we factored in grandchildren, so I bought a table that sat a family of twelve.  My husband thought it silly to look that far ahead and convinced me to buy only ten chairs. The room looked magnificent – the long, majestic table, the ten chairs, the buffet, a couple of real ficus, and a few other nice pieces of furniture – I was pleased. The table lasted longer than the…

Countdown to Christmas

If you didn’t buy it, wrap it, or bake it by now, stop.  Believe me, your Christmas will not be ruined, not unless you put more emphasis on calories and commercialism than on the true meaning of the holiday.
What is it, you ask?
Well, I have it on good authority that it will come without ribbons.  It will come without tags.  It will come without packages, boxes or bags. Christmas doesn’t come from a store; Christmas is a little bit more.
What is this little bit more?
Well, it may have something to do with a little bitty baby born in a stable many, many years ago.  He delighted his humble parents and astounded anyone who met him soon after his birth. This man had such a profound effect on the history of mankind that we read about him and study about him even today, two thousand years later, whether we are Christian or not.  
What we celebrate at Christmas is something so valuable that we sometimes take it for granted, and those who do not have it envy us – family, friends, and fellowship …

Grace Not Greed

I wrote this for a collection of Christmas devotionals in 2011.It is still appropriate for the times at Christmas in 2013.
 “May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.”  Jude 1:2 (NSRV) The winter of 1991 found me in the middle of a messy divorce.  I struggled to pay a four-digit mortgage and to feed and clothe three growing adolescents on a teacher’s salary. On previous Christmases, our letters to Santa had been long and expensive lists of toys and electronics, but this year we would have to find a different way to “make merry.” I tried to explain our situation to the kids, but they stopped me mid-apology with an announcement of their own. “We don’t want anything for Christmas.” They explained they already had everything they needed – we had each other, a roof over our heads and a safe place at night, food to eat (even if it was way too many servings of boxed mac and cheese or ramen noodles), and they had me.  They knew I wasn’t going to abandon them. Grace replaced greed in our …

What I Want for Christmas

My two front teeth are in great shape. Thank you (especially to my dentist and her team), so what do I really want for Christmas? Everyone and everything dear to my hearth and home are doing well, so what could I possibly want or need? Well, for starters, I would like a firmer and more youthful body, one that does not wiggle when set in motion.  It would be wonderful to be the envy of all the ladies in my Cardio Dance class when I walk in dressed in my skin tight workout clothes and my bust, belly, and butt amaze everyone.  A thinner waist would also be appreciated.  Thank you in advance. Two, I would like to win the lottery, not the little one of just a couple of million dollars but the big honker one with the dozens of zeroes behind it.  I realize I actually have to buy a ticket, so I would like to be the envy of all when they interview me for the six o’clock news (I would insist on a long shot so I can show off my gorgeous new firm body) and I mention that I bought ONE ticket on the…

Creating Family Traditions

My Chinese daughter-in-law is excited about her first American Christmas.  All the preparations and decorations she sees on TV and in the stores remind her of the month-long celebrations of her own country and she is eager to join in on the fun of the season.
Chinese culture is big on the giving of gifts.  One can never visit a home without giving a small token (most often food) to the host or hostess.  Gifts preclude the asking of a favor and thank you gifts follow after a kindness is given. If two people exchange gifts and one outdoes the other, it becomes a competition and is usually followed by a second gift of greater value.
She is mesmerized by all the sales and ads, but I warned her not to let it lure her into buying something extravagant. I advised her not to let her old custom rule her American Christmas. The giving of Christmas gifts does not have to be expensive. It is always better to give something from the heart. 
My husband’s family is Czech, so along with the traditional…

Daddy’s Favorite

On December 24th, my dad would have turned 92, but he died two weeks after he turned 84. He never met any of my wild, rambunctious extended family – all my children’s spouses, seven of my eight grandchildren, or my dear husband, but if he had he would have been deliriously happy for me. 
Family meant everything to my dad.
He loved his siblings, those alive and dead, and he adored his parents, speaking of them with the greatest of respect, but we, his own family, he put above everyone and anything else.  
We were lucky to have such a good man as our father. Not everyone can say that.
Oh, he was strict and stubborn and opinionated.  He was Old World old-fashioned. Letting his daughters out into the modern world frightened him and we gave him plenty of reason to worry, but there was never any doubt how much we loved each other.
He had this wonderful knack of treating us like ladies (Ladylike traits were not valued in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was the era of Free Love and the start of…