It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Week After Christmas

I love the week after Christmas!  Christmas day is past, but the season is still lingering and now the days seem to just glide by.  The decorations are still up and being enjoyed, there are a few bites of cheeseball left in the fridge, and the stores have returned to normal.  Just like I think that Thanksgiving is the prelude to Christmas it seems that this week leading up to New Years is the postlude.  Ah, it is a peaceful, easy time.

I have pleasant childhood memories of the time spent after Christmas in Mississippi.  It was a wonderful week of visiting with grandparents and relatives, playing with new toys, and weather permitting it was a time for afternoon walks in pastures and farmlands. It was just an easy, enjoyable week.  On the years that we lived too far away to go to my grandparents we would spend this week just winding down our Christmas season but it was not the same.

As a working mother I hated leaving my children in day care or camp during this week.  There wasn't anything I could do about it, I had a job and there was no getting off at year end.  I always loved the years that Christmas fell around the weekend so they could have a few days at home to enjoy their gifts.  In spite of my dislike of having to do this I think they were not too scarred, or at least they don't let me know that this traumatized them!

Now I try to take this week off, if possible.  Three years ago I was again in Mississippi, this time starting the task of cleaning out my parents house.  My sister was with me for a few days, then James and Erin came for a few days.  It was nice to have them there, and we even made a day trip to my father's home town.  I drove back in a group of Ole Miss fans headed to the Cotton Bowl!  A  year later Carole and I were there again, but it was to be the last trip we made to work on the house.

I've enjoyed having this week off, once again this year.  While I haven't done most of the things on my to-do list, I have done enough.  And I've had time to relax and to just enjoy the end of the Christmas Season. 

I love the long shadows made by a late December afternoon sun!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Here it is!  Christmas Eve!  I feel like it is really special because when I left my office at 4 p.m.  yesterday I knew that I did not have to go back to that place until January 3rd!  So not only is it Christmas, I'm officially on Christmas break! Yippee!  Now that I've announced that news, here is my more serious post:

Stephanie and I met up at church for the 6 p.m. Christmas Eve service tonight.  I think the Christmas Eve service is my favorite church service of the year.  For several years our church tried to experiment with the service and do different things.  I think the decision makers thought that the traditional way wasn't appealing to people, that we needed new, exciting things like guitars, drums, unusual musical instruments, reading odd things, and a message that really didn't have anything to do with Jesus' birth.  Needless to say, I don't think the new, creative services were a hit.  Tonight we had a traditional Christmas Eve service and it was wonderful!  We sang carols, read the scriptures about Jesus' birth, and lit candles to remind us that Christ is the light of the world.  We left the sanctuary singing "Joy to the World".  I can't think of a more beautiful, peaceful way to lead us into Christmas Day!

Twas the night before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NO, NO Time Please Slow Down!

I realized this morning that I have several Christmassy type outfits that I haven't yet worn this season.  And then came the "oh no" thought.  Today is Wednesday, Christmas Eve is Saturday and then Sunday is Christmas!  Oh no, how can this be?  This month has just flown by, and I'm just not ready for Christmas to come and go.  Can we postpone it for a week, or two?  I started early this year so I could really enjoy the Christmas season, but it has still just gone by too quickly.  Boo hoo! I want more Christmas time!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Seasonal Colors

Usually our main fall color happens in late November, right around Thanksgiving.  Not only is our color late, but it is different from other parts of the country.  We do have some brilliant colors, but mostly it is a deep, dark red. with touches of gold and orange.  Normally the Thanksgiving drives to the Peddler Show are filled with color and comments of, "ooo, look at that".  But not this year.  Everything was dried up and dead looking.  However, the rains of the last few weeks have done their magic. The colors started to pop up about a week ago.  As the rain increased, so did the colors.

This week I was waiting for an elevator at work, standing on the mezzanine and looking out across part of town.  The colors in this view are always stunning during the fall season.  As I looked out at the different shades of red, yellow, and orange I found myself grumbling about the crazy weather and mixed up seasons but then realized that this year was a double treat.  We are getting the beautiful fall colors right during the Christmas season when all the decorations and lights are out. 

Coming home yesterday I saw a big red bow on a brick wall.  The bright yellow and orange trees hanging over the wall just made that red bow stand out beautifully.  How fun to have both seasons combined together!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Big "Grrrrrrr"

Here we are in the midst of the Christmas season.  Decorations are up, shoppers are out and about, and there is ho ho ho everywhere.  But there are some Grinches out there.  No, actually I think it is some devils!  Consider these examples.

It is one thing that the school districts have decided to call the Christmas break a "winter holiday" but last week in the news there was an elementary school near Fort Worth that had banned all parties and Christmas celebrations during the school day.  However, they could be done before or after school if they were done for instructional purposes.  Really?  Oh dear, someone might be offended so let's not have parties and a little fun.

Yesterday it was announced that the lovely little town of Athens, Texas was having problems with a nativity scene.  Some aethist group in Wisconsin had decided that it violated their freedoms.  They want the nativity scene to go and then to be allowed to put up a banner that states that there is no God, religion is just a myth.  They have been told that the nativity scene will come down after Christmas or when hell freezes over.  There is a large celebration being planned this weekend to support the nativity scene display.  Do Not Mess With Texas, Wisconsin!

And, today in the news there is a Knights of Columbus group in New Jersey that has a banner out that states "Keep Christ in Christmas".  Ok, that's not offensive and they are a Christian group.  So what's the problem?  Another group is demanding it's removal.  This banner seems pretty harmless, after all isn't Christ why we have this wonderful celebration?  I'm confused.

There are many other examples in the news of groups fighting the religious side of Christmas, I won't go on and on.  These grinches (devils) are really making me irritated.  They are violating my religious freedom!  Grrrrrrr!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Reluctant Little Angel

Jaydon started singing in the children's choir at church this fall.  He had tried it once before but only went for a while.  This year he has been going regularly and seems to be enjoying it.  Last Sunday was the Christmas program, presented during the 11 o'clock worship service.  He was one of the angels in the "angel choir".  The Sunday before at the dress rehearsal he refused to wear the angel halo and wings.  No sirree, no way.  Stephanie talked up the program and pretty much told him there were no choices, he had to participate.  I think he just thought he would be embarrassed and, after all, this program thing was a new experience for him.

I wasn't sure what would happen when the day came for the program.  On the way to Sunday School I was talking it up, too.  But he put on the halo and the wings and participated, just like an angel.  Only his mother and I knew that he was reluctant about the whole thing!  He looked so cute in the little costume! 

Ah, the children's church Christmas of the joys of the season!

Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Little Christmas

I've always loved sparkley ornaments and twinkling lights on a Christmas tree!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas is still coming!

I haven't been posting the last week.  Not because I've been shopping, baking, and doing the seasonal fa la la la laing.  No, I've been sick.  Not sure if it was a bad cold or maybe even the flu.  I went home early on Monday, and actually called in sick on Tuesday.  I'm still dragging a bit; I think I'll be back to normal in a day or two.  So in a way, I've lost a week of December.  An important week with many things to be done.  In my frustration and trying to write a to do list I realized that I should not look at how many things I have to do but how many things I haven't done.  Here is a partial list:

I haven't made a cute picture of the dogs and printed Christmas cards.  But that's okay, I might do an after Christmas card.  After all the blessings of Christmas should continue into the new year.  And if I don't send out cards, that's okay, too.  I've had several years without sending cards and believe it or not, we still had Christmas!

I haven't finished decorating the house, or so I think.  Jaydon helped me get up the tree last weekend, and helped get some of the outside lights up tonight.  I still have decorations in closets and storage buckets.  I wanted to put up another small tree in the house, too.  Oh dear!  If I don't get the decorating done I'm sure we will still have Christmas!

I had bought some new floral picks and wanted to re-do several wreaths and a spray.  The picks are still in the bag.  The re-do may or may not happen.  We will still have Christmas!

I wanted to decorate my office.  Oh yes, a small tree, a Christmas wreath, a basket or two.  I had it all planned.  The question is that now that we are this close to Christmas do I really want to load up all the stuff and tote it up to the office and set it up only to reverse the process in a few weeks.  I think we will still have Christmas even if this doesn't happen.

I haven't baked any cookies, or anything for that matter.  I can do this after Christmas.  After all we will still have Christmas, with or without the baked goods.

That's a start to what I haven't done.  Yes, I have done a few things.  I successfully pulled off my office party and ushered at the Messiah, so check those items off the list.  I know that Christmas is coming whether I'm prepared or not.  And I know there is more to the meaning of Christmas than cards and decorations. Right now I'm curled up with Jaydon watching  "Home Alone 2", a real classic.  This is what is important, making memories.