Archive - December, 2009

Tarnish

There are those who savor Christmas long after December 25 has come and gone. They continue to enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree and associated decorations which help us to celebrate this most holy of seasons.

I am not one of these people.

Perhaps it has to do with bittersweet memories of Christmases past, maybe it has to do with my living room looking like war-torn Beirut—littered with boxes, bags, paper and forgotten gifts that have yet to find a proper place. Maybe a combination of both. Whatever the reason, by December 27, I’m ready to put it all away and prepare for a new year and a fresh start.

Today I was boxing up the final remnants of the indoor decorations, a porcelain, rather large nativity scene which occupies the surface of a hutch in our formal living room. When I retrieved the box marked “Nativity – Fragile”, I remembered I had put the silver and pewter pieces which occupy this space 11 months out of the year into said box.

As I was putting the pieces back to their rightful place, I noticed the silver candlesticks were very tarnished. And since this is a time for fresh starts, I could not in good conscious put them back without a proper cleaning.


As I began to clean the first candlestick, a couple of things occurred to me. First, the top portion of the candlestick is covered by a glass shade. If I only cleaned the parts that were showing no one else would notice. Next, the tarnish was significant, probably because they mostly go unused and unnoticed.

I began to clean from the bottom up. I was tempted to clean only the parts that would show (Did I mention that I hate cleaning silver?), but the cleaning became cathartic.

I thought about all the tarnish in our lives. Many of us are sure to keep the parts the world sees shiny and presentable. But what of those parts we don’t show the rest of the world? The parts only God can see? Surely He is worthy of a clean heart and a renewed, shining spirit. And perhaps if I pay more attention throughout the year, cleaning away the tarnish won’t be such a laborious task.

I ask that you indulge me one more analogy. As I placed the candlesticks back on the hutch, I decided to light the tea lights the candlesticks held.

The result of the endeavor was this:

The light shined brightest from those places unseen.

Renovation


There is a blue house sits at the end of my street. I would estimate its age to be 25 to 30 years. This is relatively new in many parts of the country. Where I live, in the Land of Shiny and New, it is positively prehistoric.

After being on the market for several months, the house recently sold. The previous occupants were an older couple—not elderly, just older. The woman has several health issues and the house’s upkeep simply proved too daunting a task for them.

Being curious (nosy) by nature, as soon as I saw the For Sale sign in the yard, I looked up the listing on the internet. The pictures of the house’s interior continued the theme from its exterior—outdated and dilapidated.

I got the feeling as I looked at the pictures that what my eyes saw was very different from the eyes that must have taken those pictures. Where I saw the reality of worn carpet, cracked plaster and outdated fixtures, the eyes behind the lens of the camera saw what the house once was. The memories within the walls of the house and in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants served as rose colored glasses, preserving a beauty that has long since faded.

The previous owners have left. Work crews have descended upon the house and have begun the task of renewal. Overgrown bushes and trees are being pruned, dead plants are being dug out of the flower beds. I’ve counted three rather large trailers filled with branches and debris so far, and they’ve barely made a dent into the overgrowth. Drywall, insulation, doors and fixtures lay together in a large heap on the driveway. The overcast, cold day adds to the ugliness of the scene. To the workers, it is just another job; the stripping away of the old and useless. The mess is temporary and will soon be cleared away so new life can be breathed into the house by yet another group of workers. Eventually a new family will move in with a fresh start at creating new memories.

The renovation of this little blue house on the corner holds a distinct advantage over the renewal that sometimes must take place in our lives. Because while the previous occupants of the blue house have moved away and do not have to witness to pruning and/or demolition of those things that no longer serve their intended purpose, we are a captive audience to the sometimes painful yet necessary pruning, demolition and reconstruction that must take place within us in order for us begin anew.

***

This blog post is a submission into “Beginnings” writing project hosted by lovely and talented Laura Barkat over at Seedlings in Stone

beginnings

A Mother’s Love

A few weeks ago, my friend Peter Pollock hosted a blog carnival on Grief. My friend Annie had sent me a guest post entitled The Winter Trail which I thought was perfect for the topic. This week’s carnival hosted by Bridget Chumbley on the topic is Love, and Annie’s follow up to that post is fitting as well. Here’s Annie:

For over five weeks I had avoided going into her room but I knew sooner or later I was going to have to face the daunting task of packing up the things she left behind.

I looked around the room and took in the few items left hanging in the closet, mainly the old clothes she didn’t wear anymore. The desk held a few nick knacks, school supplies and stuffed animals. The walls had been left mostly bare except for the remnants of her high school volleyball days and a random tack here and there.

I climbed up on the bunk bed and began taking down the volleyball shirts one-by-one. Player number on the front, name across the back. One shirt had the words ‘Team Captain’ boldly printed across the chest, and I had a flashback to the moment she told me she’d made captain. There were bags she had hung that had been decorated by her ‘secret bear pal’ and given to her on the days we played our cross town rival. Pictures of her with the team, the saying, ‘you wish you could hit like a girl’ and the ’10 Reasons I Play Volleyball’, all came down one at a time along with the memories I had of her volleyball days.

I climbed down from the bunk bed and began going through the items on her desk. There was an Angel jewelry holder that she had painted at a little pottery studio we had visited and I carefully wrapped it up and put it into a box. I gently tucked the stuffed animals into the box along with jewelry, pictures, old cell phone chargers, books, and school projects that she had worked so diligently on.

As I cleaned off her desk, I noticed the tiny white Christmas lights that she had strung around her desk and up the bunk bed. I plugged them in and continued working.

I went to the closet and began opening the drawers of her dresser, a hand-me-down from when I was a little girl. As I opened the top drawer I smiled at the mismatched socks in it. We had always laughed about the fact that she never wore matching socks. And there was not a match in the drawer. I closed the drawer and left the socks as they were.

Other drawers held old high school sweatshirts that I packed along with the volleyball shirts into a box. The jewelry box she’d had as a girl that was tucked safely away in the third drawer down was just going to stay put. For now.

As I surveyed the room, I hadn’t realized how late it had gotten and the room was becoming dark except for the white Christmas lights. I glanced over at her desk and my eyes landed on the blue dolphin lamp sitting there. Blue was her favorite color and she’d always loved dolphins. I reached over to turn the lamp on and it lit up as mini lightning bolts raced through the dolphin. I stood there for a moment watching the lightning show…and then the tear fell.

And it fell for the emptiness of the room.

And then another fell for the hurt and sadness of my daughter walking out the door and not looking back.

And another fell, for not seeing her in those mismatched socks.

And then the tears came.

For wondering how the dreams for ones child could go so wrong somewhere along the way and for feeling like I was packing up all the memories I had of her 17 years into a few boxes.

And for missing the hugs, the kisses and the ‘I love yous’, the laughter, the quiet moments, singing Lady Gaga in the car, being goofy, baking cookies and watching movies.

And they fell because I won’t watch her graduate from my old alma mater, and because don’t want to miss out on her future.

And they fell because I’m afraid she doesn’t know how much I miss her.

************************

As I sat there letting the tears fall I knew it was only the beginning. There will be many more tears in the coming weeks, and who knows, maybe months because there is a lot of healing in our relationship that needs to happen, for both of us. But, there is one thing that I am certain of where my daughter and I are concerned. And that is no matter what the differences are, or what trials we face, or how mad and disappointed we are with each other, she knows I love her and I know she loves me.

***

Be sure to check out the rest of the entries in the blog carnival over at my friend Bridget’s blog, One Word at a Time.

A Smack in the Head (by Billy Coffey)

I blame it on my New Year’s resolution. That’s what was on my mind and what had abducted my focus.

I was on the couch trying to decide what I should spend the next 365 days trying to improve about myself. Since I’ve always been one convinced that nothing but a lofty goal is worth the effort, I decided to aim high. I was going to eliminate everything in my life that brought me pain, no matter what sort of pain that may be. Seemed good on the surface, but the logistics were problematic. Pretty much everything in my life had the potential to bring me pain. Even the good things.

The logistics were what I was pondering as I walked from the living room into the dining room and past my son, who reached out and gave me a hug that I barely felt. And I was still pondering them when I rummaged through the refrigerator for the pitcher of sweet tea and poured a glass of milk instead. Also when my daughter asked me (for the third time, she said) if she could play her video game for a bit.

Wasn’t paying attention at all. Because this Thing, this resolution, had carried me away from reality to a place where my body could not follow.

It’s a precarious position to be in, having to straddle two worlds. And impossible to do for very long without losing something along the way. Which is why my son asked me a question I did not hear, my daughter tried three times unsuccessfully to gain my interest, and I had a cup of 2 percent rather than sweet tea.

I would have probably remained in that state of Here But Not Really for a while longer if the cabinet door hadn’t have been left open. Because just as I took a sip of milk and wondered why it was not tea, I turned and smacked headlong into it. That was when my trip to Neverland came to a sudden and complete stop.

When I came back to reality.

I rubbed my forehead and heard the unmistakable giggle of a little girl from the other room. Physical humor is a art form, and one I unknowingly practice at times. It keeps both me bruised and my family entertained.

I stood in the kitchen and tried to retrace my steps, all to no avail. I couldn’t remember getting off the couch, couldn’t remember the walk into the kitchen, couldn’t remember anything. One moment I was alone in the living room, and the next a cabinet door was assaulting me.

Strange, huh?

But to be honest, this sort of thing happens to me all the time. Happens to us all, too. As much as we try to stay anchored to reality, we all have the occasion to wander in our thoughts. Things that need to be done, things we fear being done to us. Where we need to go, what might come next. The cares of this world are many, but they all serve one common goal—to rob us of the joy that is Here and Now.

I understood then that I could probably make any resolution in the world and be better off than making that one.

All the proof I needed to confirm that could be found in my absent-minded stroll from the living room to the kitchen. A little love from my son wasn’t enough to snap me out of my thoughtlessness. Neither was the responsibility of being a parent. Nor even the quench of my thirst. No, the only thing that reminded me of where I was and what I needed to be doing…was pain.

Which I suppose is why God allows things that will give me a smack in the head from time to time. He knows that’s just the thing that will keep my head where it needs to be. Sometimes it’s an unanswered prayer, even an outright No. Or a delayed promise. Or even a senseless tragedy.

Those are the things that tend to separate me from Him. Until I bonked my head on that cabinet, I thought pain was my enemy. Something I should resolve to remove completely from my life. I know better now.

I’m thinking that instead of resolving to hurt less, maybe I should resolve to hurt more. Because the only sure way to get to the yonder and later is to be in the here and now.

***

To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.

He sleeps in a storm

I heart books. Yes, I did get a Kindle for Christmas, and yes, I do intend to read lots of books on it, but there’s something about the feel of a book in your hand that an electronic device just can’t replicate.

Have a little faith by Mitch Albom is a wonderful book. From its book jacket made to look like an old prayer journal to its ragged pages — it is a beautiful specimen. Oh, and the writing is good, too. The story begins when Albom’s aging rabbi, Albert Lewis (aka The Reb), asks him to deliver his eulogy. As the title would suggest, it is a story about faith. The faith of Rabbi Lewis, Mitch Albom, and an inner city Detroit street thug/drug dealer turned minister, Henry Covington. But this is not meant to be a book review, I simply wanted to share a passage with you.

From a Sermon by the Reb (Rabbi Lewis), 1975

A man seeks employment on a farm. He hands his letter of recommendation to his new employer. It reads simply, “He sleeps in a storm.”

The owner is desperate for help, so he hires the man. Several weeks pass, and suddenly, in the middle of the night, a powerful storm rips through the valley. Awakened by the swirling rain and howling wind, the owner leaps out of bed. He calls for his new hired hand, but the man is sleeping soundly.

So he dashes off to the barn. He sees, to his amazement, that the animals are secure with plenty of feed. He runs out to field. He sees the bales of wheat have been bound and are wrapped in tarpaulins. He races to the silo. The doors are latched, and the grain is dry.

And then he understands. “He sleeps in a storm.”

My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business. Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight. We will never wallow in the agony of “I could have, I should have.” We can sleep in the storm.

And when it comes time, our good-byes will be complete.

***

Are you able to sleep in a storm?

I’ll be Ho for Christmas…if only on the twitter


Fair warning: This is a VERY LONG twitter post. But since it’s Christmas, I wanted to give you an extra helping of my holiday tweets (snort!). Also, two low carb monsters per day are most definitely my limit.

And now, for the very last time in 2009 (golf clap), the best of me (or not) on the twitter:

Unfortunate price sticker placement. http://twitpic.com/v7j6ga>

For Christmas, I asked for peace on earth, good will towards men and a Kindle. And I gotta say, 1 out of 3 ain’t bad. Merry Christmas y’all!

@shrinkingcamel Wonder if there will be a toe laser hair removal gift certificate under the tree.

@shrinkingcamel She should give you forty bucks for Christmas. (in reply to shrinkingcamel I just gave my daughters 40 bucks to buy me something for Christmas. I’m sitting here in the food court at the local mall. ~sigh~)

@llbarkat I had an Aunt Hattie. I suppose she would be @hatdish. But she didn’t even drive a car, let alone operate a computer. (in reply to llbarkat @katdish @hatdish, cousin, right?)

@Doallas Who is @hatdish? (in reply to Doallas @billycoffey @hatdish @llbarkat et al Reading your tweets from last to first is a weird experience. Talk about out of body.)

But only because I don’t have a penguin cage as @llbarkat suggested.

Okay! @VariantVal has saved the day! CD case it is!

@llbarkat And I mean that in a good way.

@llbarkat You are so weird… (in reply to llbarkat RE: what to wrap a gift card in. @katdish a really big penguin cage. that’ll throw ’em for sure. 🙂

@VariantVal Ooo! CD case is very good…

@CandySteele I’m fresh out of ginormous boxes.

So…what does one wrap a gift card in?

@PeterPollock INCONCEIVABLE! (in reply to PeterPollock @katdish I remember a time when he won an argument with you!)

@billycoffey Now we need to stop before we make @bridgetchumbley and @sarahmsalter cry again. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish GAAA!!!)

@billycoffey Have you ever won an argument with me, Billy? Answer – No.

@billycoffey Yeah. You’re full of something all right. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish You’d better be glad I’m full of Christmas spirit.)

@billycoffey Pffft… (in reply to billycoffey @katdish I didn’t Google her! And now I’m not telling.)

@billycoffey So who is she? I’ll wait while you google it…

@VariantVal TWSS (in reply to VariantVal @katdish I’d never google!!)

@billycoffey Oh, please… (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Me? Google a baseball fact? You’re fired.)

@VariantVal @billycoffey And who the heck is Effa Manley?

@billycoffey @VariantVal Did y’all google that?

Who was the first woman elected into the national baseball hall of fame? (Hint: not Madonna)

@RachelleGardner You’re right, and I’m shiny and red. (in reply to RachelleGardner @katdish Oh, I thought Christmas was the time when our true colors emerge. 🙂

@BridgetChumbley And happy birthday too. (in reply to BridgetChumbley RT @katdish: @billycoffey Wait…you’re ARE right! Of course you’re right. // Wow… Merry Christmas to Billy!)

@RachelleGardner I know the Rockies tanked, but Christmas is no time for bitterness, Rachelle. (in reply to RachelleGardner @katdish @billycoffey Totally can’t get enough baseball talk on Christmas Eve. *eye roll* It’s FOOTBALL season, people. 🙂

@billycoffey Wait…you’re ARE right! Of course you’re right. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Ricky Henderson was the one who led the AL in stolen bases, right?)

Daughter is now helping me wrap gifts using copious amounts of tape. I think she’s channeling @billycoffey

@billycoffey So far no Ricky Henderson answers, but I’ll keep that one in mind. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Ricky Henderson.)

Okay, now she’s accusing me of cheating.

Sammy Sosa! Score!

Colorado Rockies! Yay! I finally got one right!

All wrong.

So far my answers have been Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Derek Jeter, and Stinky Pete.

My daughter is asking me baseball trivia questions and I’m just making stuff up.

Who was the AL base stealing champ for 9 years in the 1980s?

@CandySteele Mmmm….Chex mix! (in reply to CandySteele @katdish I got back up nuthin without power. Ugh. Oh look…Chex Mix!)

@CandySteele Do you have a back up tofurky? (in reply to CandySteele Just lost power. Not good. #turkeyfail)

Who says I only pick on Buddy Love? http://twitpic.com/uzi13

The angry little reindeer http://twitpic.com/uzhqs

@PeterPollock Thanks, Peter. You’ve truly been a blessing this year.

@llbarkat Twank you. (Ugh! Did I just type that?) (in reply to llbarkat @katdish Merry Christmas, Tweetie. 🙂

Merry Christmas Twitter!

RT @weightwhat: @katdish I think Buddy Love’s plot to kill you has only been foiled due to his lack of opposable thumbs.

@Doallas The trick is mastering the choke hold. (in reply to Doallas @katdish Of course, Westies being terriers, their unwillingess to wear a Santa suit should come as no surprise.)

@BridgetChumbley She’s much cuter than Buddy and I bet she doesn’t poo in the dining room either. (in reply to BridgetChumbley @katdish Here is what Buddy inspired… http://bit.ly/8A0Wlt)

@buzzbyannies He was COLD Annie. I’m just looking out for him. (in reply to buzzbyannies @katdish Poor, poor, humiliated Buddy…)

And frankly, he’s not amused. http://twitpic.com/uvzo9

You’d better watch out, he’s coming to town!
http://twitpic.com/uvzek

@ronsteele7 Your wife already scooped you on that Ron Burgandy. (in reply to ronsteele7 http://twitpic.com/uvlgb – Ice on brick. Still accumulating.) (To which @ronsteele7 replies quite brilliantly – @katdish One scoop a year. But I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. )

@llbarkat Well, there probably is, but now you’ve got me feeling all pressured and whatnot… (in reply to llbarkat @katdish you know, whatever you can conjure 🙂 I bet there’s a poignant bone in that sweet little body somewhere)

@redclaydiaries I’m gonna call your cell phone if you don’t tweet what movie you’re in!

@redclaydiaries Quick before they tell you to put your phone away, what movie? (in reply to redclaydiaries In theater waiting 4 movie to start. Ad sound is up so loud that my ears R bleeding. Makes for a less pleasant cinematic experience.)

@llbarkat I’m assuming “fun” for me and “poignant” for @billycoffey? (in reply to llbarkat @katdish thanks for the RT. I hope you and @billycoffey try out the project. From fun to poignant, we’ll be treated to it all! 🙂

@CandySteele I’d take a little ice right now. We still have mosquitos

It’s Dec 23, I’m walking around outside wearing flip flops, jeans and a sleeveless shirt. Oh, and it’s muggy outside.

@shrinkingcamel Exactly how much toe hair are we talking about here? (in reply to shrinkingcamel @katdish Apparently lasar-treatment can do wonders on unsightly toe-hair.)

RT @shrinkingcamel: The ladies here are having a big discussion about toe-hair. //thanks for sharing, Brad.

And really, what better way to celebrate the birth of our Savior than sitting at the nickel slots all day?

I still need to get my mom a little something for Christmas. Giving her cash, because she’s going to Vegas w/my sisters Dec 26.

@dukeslee oh please! Of Course I tresspassed! (in reply to dukeslee @katdish Creeped out, yes. Did you trespass on someone’s property to get that photo? Or is that on your front step?)

Okay, is it just me or this creep anyone else out? http://twitpic.com/utiqk

Target report: surprisingly not bad. I went there to purchase gift cards for 2 families on behalf of my church. I think God worked that out.

Okay, people – I’m going to Target. Two days before Christmas. If I’m not back in 3 hours, call the authorities.

To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year ~ E.B. White

RT @prodigaljohn: “60 pound beaver attacks boy.” Quite possibly my favorite CNN headline of 2009. I think that beaver is doing P90X.

@billycoffey I’m smart like that. I know that’s like kryptonite to you. (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Dang. You just had to appeal to my Christmas spirit, didn’t you?)

@billycoffey Merry Christmas! (sheepish grin) (in reply to billycoffey @katdish Uh-huh. What-ev.)

@billycoffey Like I said. I blame the monster. (in reply to billycoffey @sarahmsalter @katdish I’m reading your tweets from last night. You two have some ‘splaining to do.)

@billycoffey Good morning. Please disregard any tweets from last night. I blame the low carb monster.

P.S. – Don’t be surprised if I’m back on here in an hour.

Okay people. My giant head is filling up the tweetdeck and I really should TRY to get some sleep. Goodnight!

@emavalos Now why would I want to send an angry email to myself? I dig me.

Well, if my theory about NOT tweeting to get new followers holds true, I pretty much blew that in the past 10 minutes.

I’m really glad @billycoffey is off tomorrow & spending the day w/his family. He probably won’t even have time to send me a nasty email.

@sarahmsalter No offense to @billycoffey, but who DOESN’T wrap better than @billycoffey?

@BridgetChumbley You should have 1 or 4 low carb monsters. I think I could rewrite War and Peace right now. (in reply to BridgetChumbley Brain is completely empty when it comes to what I’m trying to ‘recall’ for my blog post.)

Yes, I know I RTed myself, but no one else did it for me. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands.

RT @katdish: If @billycoffey wrote like he wraps presents, y’all would all be saying “who’s billy coffey?” http://bit.ly/4J6wGt #justsaying

@sarahmsalter You and me both! (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish I like snarky Katdish. :o)

Also? 4 low carb monsters apparently makes me a bit snarky…

@mapdentists Thank for that helpful diet & exercise advice. I often ask my dentist about these things.

If @billycoffey wrote like he wraps presents, y’all would all be saying “who’s billy coffey?” http://bit.ly/4J6wGt #justsaying

It’s the little things in life, you know?

YAY! My tweetdeck is now fully functional.

What is happening?

Okay, @CandySteele tweets “I have a housefull of meat this week” & @weightwhat doesn’t throw down a TWSS?

Note to self: Limit yourself to 2 low carb monsters per day. 4 is definitely too many.

@BridgetChumbley I heart #randomhashtags (in reply to BridgetChumbley @katdish I almost fell off the couch on that one… I’ve introduced a lot more roughage into my diet… #regularityisamust)

Surely there’s no correlation there, right?

Not that I’m complaining, but I’ve had a bunch of new followers today & I’ve hardly tweeted. Hmmm…

Well crap. That didn’t work.

@katdish – hey you know what? If I talk to myself it shows up in my mentions column AND I get to talk to myself! Win-win.

@BridgetChumbley DMs or B…Oh wait. That’s tacky… (in reply to BridgetChumbley @katdish I guarantee it! My DM’s haven’t been right in a long time!)

@BridgetChumbley Or not…

@BridgetChumbley I can’t see my mentions or my DM column! I’m quite sure some important folks are trying to talk to me!

No offense, apple crap fans!

@MattTCoNP I’m not aware of anything apple-themed that isn’t crap. (in reply to MattTCoNP @katdish Apple themed stuff sounds great, just as long as it is crap.)

@DougSpur Ooo! Good one. How about – my very best plasticware. (in reply to DougSpur @katdish oxymoron – my bald friend named harry)

@rachelheldevans HA! Well, there you go… (in reply to rachelheldevans @katdish “perfect man”)

RT @kylaaak: Oxymoron time! My favorite is “jumbo shrimp”. Whats yours? #fb >>prosperity gospel

@MattTCoNP I could send you some coffee mugs and assorted apple themed crap. (in reply to MattTCoNP …But the rest of the kids really let me down! Where’s my presents?!)

@sarahmsalter It’s both! (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish Maybe I’ll just write him a check and let him go to Walmart and buy his own gift. Is that lazy or smart?)

@sarahmsalter although I must say, some of @billycoffey’s best stories take place at Walmart.

@sarahmsalter Gaaa! Not the Walmarts!

@CandySteele TWSS.

@CandySteele I don’t need to go to Booty Camp. I’ve got plenty of booty.( in reply to CandySteele @katdish @sarahmsalter I’m sending you guys to Boot(y) Camp. For shame.)

Stupid, stupid prayer cross commercial…

@sarahmsalter I swear, I took one bite and had to go to the dentist.
@CandySteele My friend Pat once made bread pudding out of day old Krispy Kreme donuts.

@CandySteele It’s the perfect bad food combination. Throw in a pack of Marlboro Reds and you have the perfect tri-fecta.

@redclaydiaries There’s no telling. But you’re welcome. That’s what I’m here for.( in reply to redclaydiaries @katdish What would I do without your “encouragement?”)

@mylestones @redclaydiaries likes it when I encourage her. It’s one of my spiritual gifts, you know.

@redclaydiaries Dude, who DOESN’T make you look bad when it comes to posting?

Went to the mall, looked at the parking lot & went to Kroger. Did you know you can get Best buy gift cards there? Yeppers.

RT @weightwhat: RT @thedayhascome I couldn’t find a gift that conveys my general dislike for you, so I got you this fruitcake instead.

@weightwhat Thanks Wendy. That was craptastic!

@helenatrandom Adeste fideles,Laeti triumphantes; Venite, venite in Bethlehem; Natum videte, Regem Angelorum

@mandythompson Gotta love the government! No really, they’re trying to pass a law saying as much.

@ronsteele7 And yet you’re still not following me… (in reply to ronsteele7 @katdish Yes she did—but I am for real now–and you’ll know it’s me—because–I use too many dashes—(she says)

RT @marni71: RT @PuriChristos: Hey everyone, take a minute and pray for @Helenatrandom’s mom, she is in the hospital//Yes let’s do…

@ronsteele7 Even if your wife did tweet that for you…

@ronsteele7 NOW who feels special? (Answer? I do!) (in reply to ronsteele7 @katdish I heard that. I’m going to start paying closer attention to my favorite dish)

Watching Blades of Glory because I have very refined taste in movies.

@CandySteele Oh goody! Yet another opportunity to be ignored by Ron Burgandy! (in reply to CandySteele @redclaydiaries @BridgetChumbley BIG step tonight – RB wants me to set up a FB page. Good idea or social media suicide??)

@sarahmsalter you’re the very best Sarah Salter I know. (in reply to sarahmsalter @katdish You have a lot of lovely qualities that I wouldn’t mind being like. BUT I also like to be an individual on occasion. 🙂

My favorite Christmas card this year. Thanks Boz! and @buzzbyannies http://twitpic.com/u9ocm

@dukeslee He’s actually quite the fashionista in his own way. But don’t tell him I said that. (in reply to dukeslee @katdish He’s unusually quiet on matters of fashion, isn’t he? In time, in time … Keep working on him.)

HeatherSunseri We’re going for a fancy redneck look for @billycoffey (in reply to HeatherSunseri @katdish @billycoffey I like sequins. What are we putting sequins on?)

@billycoffey How do you feel about sequins? (in reply to billycoffey @dukeslee @katdish Oh I can’t wait to see what you two came up with…)

RT @dukeslee: @katdish Have him use a Bedazzler on his Carhartts. // Brilliant!

@dukeslee I know. I’m really trying to push the “Fancy Redneck” image. (in reply to dukeslee @katdish As part of his PR team, u r doing a fine job in helping him brush up on his image. More Target; less Walmart. When will he listen?)

@dukeslee I told him he should have gone to Target.

@billycoffey Sort of a Misery meets Larry the Cable Guy sort of story? (in reply to billycoffey @RachelleGardner I could, but that rewrite would be a horror story and I’m not sure if you’d represent it.)

@billycoffey Well done grasshopper.

Sniff…so proud…RT @billycoffey: Headed to Walmart with a huge snowstorm looming. Hey, that sounds familiar ~ http://bit.ly/23g1Kw

@billycoffey I read somewhere that God hates the Yankees. Where was that? (in reply to billycoffey @katdish If God liked me better, the Yankees would win EVERY year.)

@CandySteele Sweet Fancy Moses! You ordered a 4 legged turkey?

Merry Christmas


It’s Christmas Eve as I sit at my computer, as I do most every night either writing a post or putting some final touches on something that Billy Coffey or another friend and fellow blogger has sent to me.

I suppose most folks wait until the very end of the year to reflect upon the previous 12 months, but (in case you haven’t noticed by now) I’m not so much like most people. Reflection time for me comes in the quiet hours of Christmas Eve, when all the gifts are under the tree and the kids are in their beds.

This has been a year of new beginnings for me; of new friendships and new experiences. I look forward to 2010 with excitement and anticipation. But while we’re still here in 2009, I want to take the opportunity to say thank you for helping me think a bit deeper, pray much harder and most assuredly laugh out loud on numerous occassions.

A very Merry and Blessed Christmas to you all, my friends.

Because of Him,

Kathy Richards
aka katdish

O Little Town of Bethlehem

I’ve been asked to introduce a song tonight at our Christmas Eve service, and I’d like to share my little intro with you as well.

The song is O Little Town of Bethlehem. It was written by well known American preacher Phillip Brooks in 1868 several years after a trip to the Holy Land. Spending Christmas Eve in Bethlehem and worshipping in the Church of the Nativity, thought to be the place of Christ’s birth, left a lasting impression on him. Three years later, he was searching for a new carol for his children to sing in their Sunday School Christmas program. With his visit to the Holy Land still a vivid memory, he was inspired to write this text.

Brooks gave a copy of the carol to his organist and Sunday School superintendent, Lewis H. Redner and asked him to compose a simple melody that children could easily sing. Redner struggled to contrive just the right tune for his pastor’s text. On the evening before the program was to be given, he awoke from his sleep and wrote the present melody, insisting that the tune was a gift from heaven. The carol was an immediate favorite with the children, and continues to be a favorite with children and adults to this day.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

***

In this age of information, books and television shows might lead you to believe that the Nativity story is a complicated one, sighting archeological and historical evidence of every minute detail; calling into question the number of wise men and various other details within the story. But the truth of the matter is this – The story of the birth of Christ is simple yet powerful. God came to earth, born of the Virgin Mary to save us.

The same could be said about our faith. While following Christ is not always easy, it is most assuredly simple:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. ~ Mark 12:30-31

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Love ~ Live ~ Serve

Christmas Memories

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right? Yeah, well not always, and not for everyone. I’ve had my share of blue Christmas memories. To read what God taught me (and is still teaching me) through these experiences, follow me over to my friend Jason’s blog, Connecting to Impact.

And in case I don’t touch base with you guys before Friday, have a safe, blessed, wonderful Christmas, and thanks for hanging out with me this year. It’s been a blast.

Yay!

I’m thrilled beyond words to present to you a sneak peak at the cover of Billy Coffey’s debut novel, Snow Day.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but I will tell you that this scene brings to mind one of my favorite chapters in the book. Okay, truth be told, they’re all my favorite chapters. And yes, I know I’m helping Billy promote his book, but I wouldn’t promote a book I didn’t believe in, and even though I give him a hard time occasionally, I’m not exaggerating when I say I believe Billy Coffey is the best new writer of our generation. His body of work will be read for generations to come, blessing our children’s children and beyond. He’s just that good in my not so humble opinion. (Just don’t tell him I said that, okay?)

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