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Looking for Jesus (by Billy Coffey)

The thing about living at the foot of a mountain is that it’s often windy. Sometimes it’s little more than a gentle breeze that will tousle your hair. Other times it’s enough to make you pull your ball cap down a little tighter. And then there are the winds that don’t simply blow but rage. Like the ones last Wednesday.

I was outside the next morning surveying the damage, which wasn’t all together bad. The only things out of place were a few of the Christmas decorations—two bows that had found their way into the rose bushes, a strand of lights that had been blown from the tree, and a toppled Nativity scene.

The bows and lights were simple enough, though I had to impale my thumb on a thorn and smack myself in the face with a tree branch in order to set aright what the wind had blown askew. Mary, Joseph, a wise man, and a shepherd had dog piled the holy child to shield him from harm.

I stood the shepherd up first, brushing away a few leaves and a clump of mud. Then the wise man, then Joseph, and finally Mary. Then I stooped down to brush off little Emmanuel.

Halfway into my crouch, I stopped. In a strange act of contortion I didn’t believe was possible, I both furrowed my brow and bulged my eyes at the sight before me. Because there, right there where the swaddled babe was supposed to be, was nothing.

The rusty gears in my head began to lurch and churn, the results of which seemed to be subtle variations of one question—And what’s that mean?

And what’s that mean? The dog pile didn’t work.

And what’s that mean? My Baby Jesus is gone.

And what’s that mean? Uh-oh.

I stood up and looked around. Nothing. Looked under the truck and around the corner of the house and in the neighbor’s yard and by the creek. Nothing.

A chill ran down my spine that could have either been panic or the last remnants of the cold December wind the night before. How could we have Christmas without the Baby Jesus? What now?

I entertained a brief thought that I should call in and take the day off (“Jesus is MISSING!” I would say). But I didn’t. I wasn’t worried. After all, I’d found the real one. Surely I could find a plastic one, too.

Surely. Maybe. Well, hopefully.

I didn’t get much done that day; I was paid more for eight hours of worry and dread than actual work. My children were ignorant of the situation for obvious reasons. A missing Baby Jesus would bring the sort of panic that children display in tears and snot. Which meant I would have to find him before they knew he was missing.

I went home that afternoon and searched the entire neighborhood. I knocked on doors (“Have you found Jesus?” I asked, and received many wonderful answers. And one that was not so wonderful). I made phone calls. I drove, and when that didn’t work I walked. I even resorted to calling out His name—“Jesus?” “JESUS??”

Still? Nothing.

I had given up and begun preparing my failed-father speech to the family when I spotted a hunk of plastic beneath an evergreen tree. I’d be lying if I said there was a golden ray of light shining down upon it, but it sure felt that way. I sprinted over to the tree, pulled back a dangling branch, and lo and behold, there he lay in peaceful plastic slumber.

My Baby Jesus is back where he belongs now, safely tucked just under the living room window with ma and pa watching over him. And also two carefully placed stakes holding him in place.

I just checked on him. Still there. But a thought came to my mind as I peered through the curtains—shouldn’t I be more mindful of where the real Jesus is than my plastic one? Shouldn’t I make sure that He, too, is right beside me? And in those times when I find He isn’t, shouldn’t I go looking for Him with the same sense of purpose and urgency that I did with a simple Christmas decoration?

Yes, I think. Very much so.

Because the winds rage not just outside my window, but inside my heart, too. They howl doubt and blow jealousy. They gust fear. And while those winds can never blow Jesus away from me, they’ve been known upon occasion to blow me away from Him.


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

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A brief update on the snowfall from yesterday’s post:

Yeah…I think that was the extent of our white Christmas. Frosty – may he rest in peace.

I was bummed out that President Obama’s speech preempted the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Oh, I know I could have rented it, but it’s just not the same. I remember looking forward to watching it every year growing up, and while I can’t bring you the show in its entirety, here’s the true meaning of Christmas as told by everyone’s favorite blanket toting Peanuts character, Linus:

I’ll be doing some Christmas shopping this week. This year I intend to do much more praying and a lot less stressing about the perfect gift for those on my list. Because as Linus eluded to, we’ve already been offered the best gift of all. If we’ve accepted the gift, that’s certainly cause for rejoicing this Christmas.

And speaking of gifts, have you taken the Ten Dollar Challenge yet? (And yes, I’m going to shamelessly promote this all month long – just saying.)

Flippin’ Sweet!

First things first: Do you know what happened on this day in history, February 10, 1996? If you’re a big chess fan then
a) you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog, and
b) you would know that IBM’s Deep Blue defeated chess champion Gary Kasparov.

But another very important, life changing event happened on this date. I married the love of my life. I know people always say stuff like this, but I mean it when I say that I don’t know where I would be without him. Or maybe I do and I just don’t want to think about something so depressing. Without him, I doubt that I would have stepped through the doors of a church again. Can you imagine how completely unbearable I would be if I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus? For this reason and countless others, I am quite literally eternally grateful for my husband. I love you, dear. This is for you:Okay, so I realize that it’s almost Valentine’s Day and whatnot, but I just now figured out how to make a movie with my very favorite Christmas gift, my new flip video camera! I’d never even heard of it before I opened it on Christmas eve. Here are three movies I’ve just created. George Lucas, eat your heart out!

Here’s me opening another one of my favorite gifts. And yes, my family IS that loud and obnoxious all of the time, so I come by it naturally.

(My son can barely contain his excitement at the thought of his mom taking over the Wii. And yes, those are the infamous plumber’s crack jeans.)

Now, here’s a gift for my son from Grampa (thanks, Dad):

And because I’m a proud mama, here’s my son Cameron knocking the snot out of a golf ball:

Yeah, he’s 11 years old, and he’s a REALLY good golfer. How far does he drive the ball? Consistently over 200 yards. (I know, I know…I’m bragging.) But still, pretty cool, huh?

Hey look, a Chicken!

‘Twas four days after Christmas, and all through the house
Were the sounds of loud children, but where was my spouse?
Oh, off to some meeting for this or the other,
While sister was yelling at her older brother,
“Don’t change the channel, cause I was here first!
I want to watch Sponge Bob, Golf Channel’s the worst!”

The garbage was stacked by the curbside with care,
In hopes that the garbage truck soon would be there;
The children had long since been up from their beds,
“We’re hungry! We’re hungry! We need to be fed!”
And what do you think a good mom has to eat?
Why, leftover cookie dough is always a treat!

When out of my girl’s room there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my studio to see what was the matter.
Away to her doorway I looked down to snoop,
That my sister’s dog Maggie had left us some poop.

My sisters you see, along with my mama
Were down at Atlantis – that’s in the Bahamas.
So Maggie and Moose, the dog and the cat
Spent Christmas with us, plus some days after that.

On Maggie, on Buddy, on Moose and on Rudy,
It’s hard to keep track of who left what doody.
But later this evening my sis will be back
And she’ll pack up her car with her dog and her cat.
They’d rather stay here than at some pet hotel,
I just hope my new steamer can get out the smell.

But alas, look at me; once again, I digress
I meant to write something in the hopes to express
How grateful I am for some time to unwind
And to thank you for reading, you’re really too kind
My family, my friends and even my dog
have been inspiration for me and this blog
So thanks for your patience, your kindness and love
And most of all thanks to my Father Above

This year has been awesome, though some spots have been rough
When I thank God for blessings, I’ll include Jon Acuff
For without this great blog known as “Stuff Christians Like”
I wouldn’t have many of you in my life
And who would have thunk that I’d have such affection
For people I met through my high speed connection?

That’s all that I have; the plot does not thicken
Just thanks to you all, and……

Hey look, a chicken!

The Great I Am

If you’re like me, first let me say, “Sorry. It must suck being you.” Oh, I’m just kidding! I am incredibly and undeservedly blessed in so many ways. What I mean is, I am my own biggest enemy sometimes; especially when it comes to my arch nemesis — time management. I don’t know why I procrastinate so much or why I simply forget things altogether. Some would say that this is a form of passive-aggressiveness. You know, kinda like sarcasm. Eh, what do they know?

If you read the comments section from a couple of days ago, you may have read that I was taking a 6 hour defensive driving course online. The comment was posted on December 23. If I didn’t get the completion certificate to the court “on or before December 25”, there would be a warrant out for my arrest. Since the courthouse is closed on December 25, obviously I was cutting it a bit short. Federal Express must love people like me! The early part of my Christmas Eve was spent: A) pacing back and forth by my front door then, B) racing to the courthouse (30 minutes away) before they closed, according to the lady on the phone “in the next 30 to 45 minutes”. I literally made it there as they were shutting down the office.

I am street legal, but at what cost? I’m not talking about what it cost me to have the driving school fedex the certificate to me “top priority, morning delivery” on Christmas Eve. I’m talking about the cost to my family. I bolted out of bed the morning of the 23rd at 3:30 a.m. realizing I had forgotten all about the ticket. So, I splashed water on my face, brushed my teeth, found the school online, and immediately started the course. My husband had to go into the office, so my poor kids had to put up with a tired, stressed out, mean mom who didn’t have time to spend time with them on Christmas Eve eve. They were excited about Christmas and all I did was yell at them to stop being so loud and complain about how inconsiderate they were being to me. Yeah, right. Whose fault was it that their mom was being a bee-atch? They certainly had nothing to do with it. They just wanted to hang out and have fun.

After finishing the test, I tried to lay down for a few minutes. I was mentally and physically exhausted, but I could not wind down. Then I remembered I had forgotten to get my son a flu shot. Incidentally, if you haven’t had one you might want to consider doing so. My GP said that the strains this year are pretty wicked.

Anyway, my daughter wanted to come with, because she wanted to see her brother get a shot. By the time we had waited in the Redi Clinic at the local grocery store for 30 minutes, got the shot and picked up a couple of things at the store, it was dinner time. There’s a Denny’s across the street that also has a to-go menu. So I dragged my tired, grumpy, fed up self and my kids over there to get something to eat. As kids will do, they acted up when my patience was at an all time low. I snapped at them for things I usually would have ignored.

The manager handed me some menus, offered my kids some balloons, and asked how I was doing. It was fairly obvious that I was not doing too well, but I thought it was very nice for him to ask. We ordered our food and waited. He offered to get us all something to drink. When I told him “No, thank you.” He insisted — his treat. I still refused, but he brought my kids drinks. He shared a story with me about a woman he and his wife saw at the mall last Christmas Eve. About how she was terribly stressed out and ended up falling down, dropping all her packages and hurting herself. He shared with me how he felt bad that he had not helped her. At this point I’m thinking to myself, “Wow. I really need to get some perspective here. It’s 2 days before Christmas and I’m running around acting like the Grinch.” Our food came. He apologized for the wait, even though the food came out promptly. He wished all of us a Merry Christmas. I wished him the same, and I really meant it.

On the drive home, I asked my kids if we could play “the quiet game”. (One of my personal favorites when riding in the car with them.) I thought about what had just happened. About how I claim to live a life abiding in Jesus, and I can’t even minister to my own kids sometimes. That man’s kindness was like a sledgehammer crashing through my armor. It broke me. We got home, I set the food on the kitchen counter and told my family to start without me. I went into my closet, fell to my knees and thanked God for His mercy, asked Him to forgive my selfishness and short temper. I also thanked him for that kind soul who took the time to minister to me when I needed it. At dinner, I apologized to my kids for being such a grouch. I still had a few last minute things to do on Christmas Eve, but I didn’t stress about anything and I just feel grateful for what Christmas is about; not what we sometimes try to make it about.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go to Denny’s. I want to thank that man in person. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even catch his name. Isn’t it funny that it takes a random act of kindness by a complete stranger to put me back on the path where I need to go? My God is everything I need and yet sometimes I find myself wandering far away from Him.

I heard this song on TV later that evening. It’s one of my favorites. Hearing this song, on that night was also a gift. (While the images are beautiful, I chose to close my eyes and just listen to the words.) If you’ve had days or weeks or even years where you’ve felt overwhelmed and and under-joyed, I pray that this song will remind you that He is always near. God Bless You and Merry Christmas!

Dear Santa,

My Dearest Rachel,
Thank you so much for your letter. It was so nice of you to take the time to write me. Your mom and dad have been very proud of you and your brother this year. Even though you don’t always get along, I know that you love each other very much. Sometimes brothers and sisters just get on each other’s nerves! You are such a sweet girl. I especially love the way you are always concerned about someone else’s feelings, even when they have been unkind to you. It takes a very special person to love that way.
Now as to your question of whether or not I am real. The simple answer is yes, I am. The complete answer requires a bit more complicated explanation. There are many boys and girls of all ages that either believed in me at one time, then stopped believing, or simply have never believed in me. There are even some boys and girls that have never heard of me, if you can believe that! Rachel, what I would like you to understand is that your belief in me makes me real. For as long as your heart tells you that there is a Santa Claus, that is where I will be. For those who say I am not real, I do not exist; for those who believe, I do exist.
I would also like to clear up a little rumor about me that has been going around since before I can remember. It is not true that only good boys and girls get presents from Santa. There are many very good children that get very little; there are others who have been very naughty indeed, yet get lots of toys. The decisions about who gets what toys I must leave to their moms and dads. It is not my place to make these choices.
The truth of the matter is that none of us are truly good except for Jesus. And Christmas is about celebrating God coming to earth in the form of a little baby born in Bethlehem. There may come a day when you no longer believe in me, and I want you to know that that is okay with me. Like I said before, I exist in the hearts of those who choose to believe in me. Jesus Christ, on the other hand, has no such limitations. He is real whether you choose to believe in Him or not, and He loves all of us so very much that He left His perfect home with God so we could someday join Him there. I know I am very special to you, and I appreciate that very much. But I also know you understand that Christmas is not about me; it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus — the very best gift of all. A very Merry Christmas to you.


Kris Kringle
aka Santa Claus

P. S. – Thanks for the milk and cookies. Chocolate Chip are my favorite!

Contest Extended! Contest Extended!*

*It’s Friday. I have approximately one (1) ornament on my Christmas tree, and I really don’t have anything to ramble on incessantly about.

But I do have a couple of things to share with you. First off, Stacy from Louisville is guest blogging on SCL today. Funny stuff. Check it out. Her Women’s Ministry Christmas Tea post reminded me (don’t ask me why, that’s just how my brain works) of one of my all time favorite “Designing Women” episodes:

Berniece just cracks me up! My mother-in-law’s name is also Berniece. She’s kind of like that character, only completely different. (Actually, I’m looking forward to my twilight years so I can wear a bedazzled Christmas tree skirt and embarrass my children. — Cuz I NEVER do that now!)

Also, you may have noticed that a have a new blog on my sidebar, “Blogs I’m Diggin’ the Most”. Why, pray tell, did I add a new entry? Because a certain Wax-free mega pastor sent me a personal e-mail asking if I would like to “exchange links” on each other’s blogs. I was understandably impressed. That is, until I clicked on his blog roll and discovered that I would be the 947th person listed on his blog roll. But whatever, like they say on the red carpet at the Oscars, “It’s just an honor to be nominated.” (snort!)

And speaking of mega pastors, If anyone could cajole a certain Tim Keller to comment on my blog, I would be all a-quiver! He’s pretty much a rock star in my book. And I’m sure he would appreciate the fact that I’ve probably violated about 300 copyright infringement laws by quoting from his book so much.

That’s all for now. I gotta go decorate my lonely little Christmas tree. And perhaps I’ll leave some deep, philosophical words of wisdom on your blogs. (Your welcome.)

Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide (Part 4)

I am so visibly shaken by this next product that I fear I may have nightmares for the rest of my life. Not since the basement scenes from “Silence of the Lambs” or Tim Curry’s convincing portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in the movie adaptation of Steven King’s “It” have I seen anything quite so disturbing. Trust me — I’ve seen it in person at the local Tuesday Morning store: Be afraid…be very afraid!
The Animatronic Singing And Talking Elvis ($199.95)
sky mall creepy elvis
This is the animatronic Elvis, a singing and talking robotic bust adorned with The King’s trademark leather jacket, sideburns, and pompadour, recalling the musical icon’s performance during the highest-rated television event of 1968 — Elvis Presley’s Comeback Special. The device sings eight of Elvis’ most acclaimed songs including Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, and Jailhouse Rock, and the mouth, eyes, and head movements are synchronized with the music, replicating his unique facial expressions (including the curled upper lip) and baritone voice. Integrated infared sensors in his jacket detect ambient motion, prompting Elvis to say “Bring it on back now” or another famous Elvis remark as you walk by, and the device has 37 monologues recorded from interviews that play at a touch of a button, each reflecting on the life and career of the The King. A karaoke feature allows you to sing along with Elvsi and the device has an audio port for connecting an MP3 player or another audio source, allowing you to play your own music through Elvis’s 10-watt speaker. Includes a remote control, 1/4″ microphone jack, and an AC/DC adapter. Remote requires three AAA batteries. 20-1/4″ H x 13-3/4″ D x 21-3/4″ L. (10 lbs.)

Product Review: “This is the perfect gift for a big Elvis Fan. To sing along, you need to buy a separate mic…but it’s great. So life like it’s scary.Gender: Male
Age: 31-35
“So life like it’s scary.” I’ll tell you what’s scary, Mr. Male age 31-35. What’s scary is that you actually paid $200 plus shipping and handling for this future entry into the Creepshow Hall of Fame. I don’t even want to think about anyone actually plugging in a separate mic and singing along with dead Elvis. To truly appreciate how very frightning this thing is, you must see it in action. (Warning: Not recommended for young children or those of you with weak constitutions!)

Since I am, after all, one of those “glass half full” kind of gals, I feel obligated to say something positive about Creepy Elvis. So here goes: You could probably prop him up on some phone books in your car’s passenger seat and be able to drive in the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane during peak traffic hours. I guess every cloud truly does have a silver lining!

I know I said in my previous post that I was going to feature this product by itself, but I feel obligated to share with those of you actually considering purchasing Creepy Elvis another product that would most likely appeal to you as well. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present:

“The Slanket” $44.99
Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 10.21.01 AM

Here’s the best blanket – hands down – for snuggling up with a book or laptop computer. Put your arms in the 13″ -wide sleeves and then turn pages, type, knit or do anything else with your hands without uncovering your body. The generously sized Slanket in midweight polyester fleece feels great and keeps you warm indoors or out. Machine wash and dry. 60″ W x 95″ L. Available in five colors. Please note: deep fried peanut butter, mayonnaise and bacon sandwich not included.

This concludes Katdish’s Holdiay Gift Guide brought to you in cooperation (albeit unknown) with our friends at Sky Mall Catalog. If you haven’t had your fill of ridiculousness, just visit their website and make up your own commentary. It will be delightful, I’m sure. As for me, I think I need to seek the advice of a good therapist.

Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide (Part 3)

I know you have all been anxiously awaiting the next installment of Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide, so I apologize for the delay.

Last night, I was consulting with my editorial staff for this series of posts (Jeff and Tamara); sharing with them some of the possible categories. One of the potential categories was “Awkward Star Wars Geek”. This, I explained, would cover gifts for Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings enthusiasts. During this meeting, someone requested that I not “lump us all together” into one group. (Discretion prohibits me from revealing who made this request, but his name rhymes with “Jeff”.) Anyhoo, at the request of “rhymes with Jeff” I present to you the 3rd installment of Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide:

The “I Can’t Believe It’s Actually Over” Harry Potter Fan:

Truth be told, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I know, I know. Anything having to do with witchcraft and wizardry is evil and bad…yada, yada, yada. But my son is an avid reader, and he kept BEGGING me to let him read the books. Instead of just telling him no (for the 100th time), I decided that I would read them first and decide for myself whether they were as damaging to his faith as some Christian publications would have you believe. What I found was that the constant and unmistakable theme throughout the entire series was that you must sometimes do things not for your own good, but for the good of others and that in the end Love overcomes evil. (Why does that sound so familiar? I can’t put my finger on it!) Alas, clever marketing and manufacturing can make a buck off of any beloved work of literature:

So what if you already have the entire series? Your books are probably all dog-earred and bendy. Why not have a nice, clean set in a wicked awesome box to show off to all your friends? Try not to read them, you’ll just mess them up. Packed inside a trunk like Harry might carry to Hogwarts are all seven phenomenal bestsellers…Follow Harry from his first days at school through his adventures with Ron Hermione, his confrontations with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and the riveting series conclusion. Hardcover books are housed in a limited edition trunk with sturdy handles, privacy lock, and bonus decorative stickers. ($195.00)

Of all the great characters in the Harry Potter series, Dobby is among my favorites. What better way to immortalize the memory of this humble, brave little house elf than throwing down 200 large for a 10 inch pewter statue of him? ($195.00)

Your favorite “Tolkienian”:

What? You don’t know what a “Tolkienian” is? It is a person who loves all things “Tolkienesque”. Namely, anything having to do with “Lord of the Rings”. Again, I must confess that I am also a big LOTR fan. I’m not rabid or anything…I wouldn’t say, buy my husband a framed map of middle earth, or if I was a guy, buy my wife an Evenstar Pendant of Arwen, but still, I’m a fan. If you have such a fan on your list, here are some great ideas!

Of course, I must recommend the aforementioned Evenstar Pendant of Arwen. While the product description is rather boring, I’m pretty fond of one of the customer reviews: “The pendant was enclosed in a finely finished wooden box that gave an imminent feeling of the movie itself; which is exactly what a collector and fan looks for in their purchase. “…the light of the Evenstar does not wax or wane…” Lady Arwen, LOTR TOTT; this pendant seems to have captured that bit of elvish magic.” ($99.00) Umm…yeah. By the way, Sky Mall has the matching earrings for $95.00; they “does not wax or wane” neither!

This next item I hesitate to recommend, because I fear either you do not comprehend the power of the one ring, or you understand full well and would use it for evil. I can only say, purchase at your own risk!!! The One Ring – Gold Edition: cast in 18K gold, laser engraved, certificate of authenticity and treasure box. ($650.00)
Gollum(TM) – Smeagol(TM) Bookends
Depicting the dual personalities of one of the most complex characters from The Lord of the Rings(TM), each piece made of heavy cast metal and mounted on a wood base. Measures 8 inches in height. (Only available as a pair).
Sure, they’re creepy, but what better way to draw attention to your J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis collection? ($195.00)

Who doesn’t just LOVE Indiana Jones? (Besides me — I mean the first three were pretty good. But seriously, I get it already!) But like Rick Warren is fond of saying, “It’s not about me!” Ladies, do you have a very special archeology professor by day, swaggering hero by night, overall super guy in your life? Show him just how lucky you are with one or all of these fantastic and reasonably priced items from the Indiana Jones collection:

Indiana Jones Leather Bullwhip: An authentic replica of the whip used in the Indiana Jones movies. Measures 10′ in length. Made of fine leathers. Display included. ($199.00) Wow! an “authentic replica”. Don’t you just hate those fake replicas?

Indiana Jones Machete: Authentic replica. Stainless steel blade. Complete with collector display. Machete measures 30 inches in length. ($219.00)

And, of course what Indy fan could hold their heads up without the coveted Indiana Jones Fedora Hat?: Our licensed reproduction from Steven Spielberg’s adventure films is 100% wool felt, completely water repellent, and ready for every adventure life hurls your way. Imported. ($49.00)

Okay people. This conclude another exciting installment of Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide. I could write one every day — there’s certainly no shortage of material. But this is a little too easy — like shooting fish in a barrel. My next and last post will contain an item that is so awesomely ridiculous, it deserves a post of its very own. Until then, remember that you can pay your Visa with your Master Card.

Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide (Part 2)

As we learned in the first installment of Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide, nothing exceeds like excess. And since Thanksgiving is now a distant memory, there’s no doubt that there are only a few among you who have yet to decorate your humble abodes in holiday splendor. Let us proceed with some clever gift ideas for everyone on your buying list this year.

For the Over-Indulgent Parent:

While phrases like, “It’s more important what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside” are all well and good for less attractive children, your little princess deserves only the very best! “Add an attractive and useful addition to your little girl’s room with this daisy pastel vanity. It is a perfect furniture for their make-up, brushes, barrettes and jewelries. It maximizes the space in their room while keeping their fashion accessories organized.” ($189.99)

Stuffed animals are a dime a dozen. If those tiny Webkins and Shining Star animals are all the rage, just imagine how grateful your kids will be when they see this bad boy under the tree! Our gorgeous Giraffe makes a big statement. Featuring soft and cuddly plush and life-like features this beauty is sure to be family favorite for years to come. Featuring premium plush and an internal frame to keep upright. Giraffe filled with synthetic fibers. Size 22″l x 14″w x 59.5″h, Weight 12 lbs. Imported. (Age 3+)” (99.99)

Has your little train engineer grown tired of playing with his Thomas the Train railroad set? I mean, sure — buying the complete set may have put you back a few grand, but how can you put a price on childhood memories? Let him experience the thrill of riding the rails with his very own Lionel Pedal Train! Train includes all-steel construction, adjustable pedals, chrome bell, realistic locomotive sounds, padded seat, and beautiful finish. Ride-on maximum capacity of 100 lbs. Seat to pedal 16-19″. Size 46″l x 18″w x 25″h, Weight 39 lbs. Imported. (Age 2-6) Please note the weight limit of 100 lbs. — not recommended for fat kids. ($319.99)

Isn’t it cute when other parents brag about how their little Johnny got an “A” in science class? You could point out to them that their kid is in regular classes while yours is in the “gifted and talented” program, but that would be condescending. Just invite them over the next time your kid pulls out his Fuel Cell Car and Experiment. “Winner of the Silver Award from the Parents Choice Foundation, this experiment kit gives children a fun, hands-on way to discover fuel cells, one of the most significant technologies of the 21st century. This kit makes 30 distinct experiments, including a car that uses solar power and a fuel cell to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis, and then runs on the resulting energy. Experiments cover electrolysis and its effect on water, how to construct and load a reversible fuel cell, decomposition of water in a fuel cell, and many others. Contains all necessary parts, tools, and a
lab manual (distilled water not included). Ages 12 and up. Made in Germany. 5-1/2″ H x 5″ W x 8″ L. (1 lb.)”

It’s tons of fun for kids to spend a day at the amusement park or water slide. But let’s face it, places like that are often frequented by some pretty undesirable folks. Why not let your kids enjoy the essence of the park without exposing them to the seedier elements of society?

Thrill Zone includes a bouncing area with netted sidewalls, a climbing wall with handles and footholds, a water slide with side rails, a pool at the slide landing, and a tunnel. Top arch with sprinkler system. Entrance ramp with Velcro closure. Durable PVC unit includes water bags and stakes for added stability, and a 110volt blower pump. 228″ L x 92″ W x 81″ H. Weight limit 100
lbs. per section (500 lbs. total).

I can already hear some of you now, “Kat, I don’t have any human kids, aren’t you forgetting about our little four-legged variety?” Well, of course not! This next section is just for you.

For The Over-Indulgent Pet Owner

Since many reading this are now experiencing cold weather, it seems cruel to expect little Bella or Baxter to brave the elements just because they have to tinkle! Even those of us who are still enjoying milder weather would agree that taking a dog out in the humid, damp air would be disastrous to their newly coiffed and groomed coats! That’s why I love this next product, the Indoor Dog Restroom. This mat and tray system gives dogs a place to relieve themselves when they can’t go outside for a respite. This ingenious system uses a mat made of antimicrobial, porous artificial turf that gives off an organic scent to attract dogs, so they can be taught quickly that it is an acceptable spot for relieving themselves. The tray is easy to empty and can hold up to 2 gallons of liquid. Sure, to the casual observer it looks like a door mat on a cookie sheet, but you and I know better! ($149.95, replacement mat $64.95)

Don’t worry cat lovers, I haven’t forgotten you! How many times have you said to yourself, “That big, stinky litter box seems so crude! Doesn’t my cat deserve the dignity of using her very own toilet?” Well, of course she does! For hands-free cat box care, you can’t beat the Cat Genie. Just press a button and the world’s most advanced litter box flushes away cat waste, then washes, sanitizes and dries the entire area. You can even preset the controls to do it automatically every

We’ve covered a couple of products to make your favorite canine or feline feel like part of the family, but what about your fish? Don’t you imagine that they get kind of lonely way over on the back wall away from direct sunlight? Treat Bubbles to his new home right in the middle of the action with his very own Aqua Coffee Table. After all, fish have feelings too! ($529.95)

That conclude this edition of Katdish’s Holiday Gift Guide. I know many of you are hankerin’ to go online and start your shopping, but wait…there’s more to come. For those of you who want to beat the Christmas rush on these items and choose to order today, make sure to tell them at Sky Mall that Katdish sent you…

On second thought, maybe you should leave my name out of it.

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