"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Sunday, December 29, 2013

This is Christmas

Christmas is behind us now.  It came and went as quickly as it always does.

Every year I try to make it as stress-free as possible, so I can actually enjoy the moments. I think we all want to do that; to just let the season saturate our souls; partake of all that we can; simply enjoy the beauty and the wonder of the holiday.

Having said that though, I still always want to celebrate Christmas with gusto. In my opinion, the more and bigger the celebration becomes, the better off we all are. In a time when some are actively trying to attack this special Christian holiday – even remove it from its roots – it is up to the Christian to protect it. I really don’t care how Christmas is celebrated: Trees, ornaments, gifts, cards, Santa, singing, decorations in November! And of course the tranquil, but inspiring Christmas Eve services; I say do it all!

Regardless of some traditions being secular (and of course we all know there are many) it still causes us all to come back to one thing – Jesus. It’s probably the only time of the year the world is compelled to talk and think about Jesus. Even through secularization of customs, it all still comes back to Jesus. Only if the atheist or the progressive leftists are allowed to stop everything in the way of celebration (which they are indeed attempting) do we lose. I say CELEBRATE! What other day of the year, does everything almost completely come to a stop because of one Man…that’s saying something! That Man just happens to be King of kings and Lord of lords. He is largely and vividly apparent to everyone this time of year; and that is a good thing. That is a witness to the world.

This year, I feel like I was able to slow down more and really enjoy this wonderful time of year. I had several moments this Christmas season that quietly said to me: This is Christmas.

Below are some of my most precious moments and memories of this most blessed Christmas season...
  • I stood behind the door of our bedroom watching our son stealthily walking down the hall with his arms full of gifts. He didn't want to be seen. He didn’t know I was there.

  • Going out to the forest with my son to chop a Christmas tree in the freshly fallen snow.

  • My son randomly saying: “I can’t wait for Christmas morning.” “Are you expecting something special this Christmas?” I asked.“No, it isn’t that,” he replied and he changed the subject. I later understood that rather than expecting something, he was giving something special – something very special indeed.

  • My folks worshipping and holding their lighted candles as I sat behind them watching in a church my grandparents helped start.    

  • Sitting there listening to my great niece sing a special solo accompanied by her grandpa. Enjoying her beautiful voice, yes; but also realizing that I have seen 5 generations serve in some capacity; in different ways and at different times in this little church that each of my family, to some degree, calls home.
  • Little kids thinking my husband is Santa; even a parent stopping us to ask him if he would talk to their child. That was special enough, but what was really special in this was the joy my husband got from it.

  • Matthew playing Santa for the community. The community coming together to really support this brand new endeavor, that also helps the less fortunate.         

  • The beautiful box of Christmas cookies that our neighbor delivered, still warm and perfectly shaped. It wasn’t simply about the cookies. It is about the wonderful new neighbors we have in this young couple. I LOVE them! They warm my heart, make me smile; and make me feel safe; and give me hope. They bring the past to the present.

  • A material gain!  My son gave me a new beautiful wrought iron bench with a horse design. It is only partly the material aspect. It is more about the fact that I KNOW how hard he had to work to find, purchase and deliver this bench. All the while keeping it totally secret. He knew I have been trying to get this particular bench for YEARS! It brought tears Christmas morning, because it said, "I know you and I love you."   ;-)

  • "Mantles" were passed this Christmas season. The younger generation took over hosting Christmas dinner. My oldest sister took over making the Rosettes my mom has made for a generation. My niece made the "Doc Holidays". I took over the pickles some time ago; but I just realized it this year. I will make the rolls next year.

  • The cards that come daily in the mail - mostly from people that one only hears from this time of year, but are forever in our hearts.
  • Coming home from my niece’s house downtown and seeing all the elaborate and beautiful Christmas decorations on the houses in the city. For a moment, realizing this is the city I grew up and once loved. (Sorry, not so much anymore; but perhaps for that moment.)

  • The stillness on the drive home, with very few stirring. Almost no businesses open. I sat in silence as my husband drove, and my son had already quickly fallen asleep due to the irregular hours he has been having to keep. It was a special, special moment. 

  • What other day of the year causes the whole world to practically come to a stop? I thought to myself. This is the only day of the year that it does…every year, for generations. We decorate, we celebrate, we buy, we stress, and worship and live and laugh and love and then we stop; the whole world stops - for the King’s birthday; to honor the only One worthy… Whether one realizes it or not, the world stops as we celebrate the King. This is Christmas.

    For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6 KJV


    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    Jesus our Emmanuel

    Hark the Herald Angels Sing
    Charles Wesley - 1739
    Hark! The herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King;
    Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
    God and sinners reconciled!”
    Joyful, all ye nations rise,
    Join the triumph of the skies;
    With th’angelic host proclaim,
    “Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
    Hark! the herald angels sing,
    “Glory to the newborn King!”
    Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
    Christ the everlasting Lord;
    Late in time, behold Him come,
    Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
    Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
    Hail th’incarnate Deity,
    Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
    Jesus our Emmanuel.
    Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
    Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
    Light and life to all He brings,
    Ris’n with healing in His wings.
    Mild He lays His glory by,
    Born that man no more may die.
    Born to raise the sons of earth,
    Born to give them second birth.
    Come, Desire of nations, come,
    Fix in us Thy humble home;
    Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
    Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
    Now display Thy saving power,
    Ruined nature now restore;
    Now in mystic union join
    Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
    Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
    Stamp Thine image in its place:
    Second Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in Thy love.
    Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
    Thee, the Life, the inner man:
    O, to all Thyself impart,
    Formed in each believing heart.

    Merry Christmas!

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

    Silly Rabbit

    We have a bunny in our yard. Not positive where he/she/it came from. Not sure what he/she/it is, so I will call it "it" when referring to gender.

    It most likely belongs to the neighbor across the road. I'm sure it is a domesticated bunny. It is a little bit afraid of me, but not really...just wary. It seems to have a Ronald Reagan kind of policy. "Trust, but verify."

    It/ he is sure cute. I like the little rascal and he has personality. Maybe "he" would be better for the pronouns. He definitely isn't an "it".

    He has been here since summer, I believe.  I really have been meaning to call the neighbors to ask if they have lost a rabbit; but I have bothered them so much about their animals in the past, I almost hate to call them again. Let's see; we have had in our yard, their horse, their cow, their dog, their cat, their turkeys; and most recently their pig.  I think that is about all, so far...and now we have their bunny. I hate to say these animals are all from the same neighbor, but.....

    I like my neighbors, anyway.

    I am not taking care of this rabbit. I don't know the first thing about taking care of rabbits and I don't want a rabbit. Matt says he is pretty sure the little guy is also returning home now and then and that I shouldn't worry about him.  Mr. B. says: "They are wild animals after all; they know how to take care of themselves."  I agree.

    Lately, I have noticed the little guy has been leaving little traces around the horse trough. I think perhaps he is getting a drink there. I don't know how he is getting over there, though. We have a tall fence, and I didn't know they could jump that high.

    Bullet, the beagle, has been spending more and more time outside at night. I didn't know why. Usually he is an in and out kind of dog - especially in the winter. He hales from Texas after all; he is a southern boy to the core. Last night, though, I finally figured out why Bullet has been slow to come in from outside when he goes. The little bunny has been in the yard.

    My lab is the one who noticed the rabbit first, last night. She caused such a commotion I went outside to see what was going on. My lab was giving Mr. Rabbit a run for his money. 

    Now my lab is the most obedient being (animal, human or other) this side of heaven. And when I called her to stop chasing the bunny, she stopped. She just looked at me like "Really, Mom?  Do you know what is out there?" But she stopped and stayed. The bunny stopped, too. He sat by the tree and just watched us. Silly rabbit! The lab looked at me, then looked at the bunny, then back at me. "Please!" she begged. (Yes, she did to say that.)

    Bullet also had to come out and see what all the commotion was. I didn't want to let him out, but he was carrying on so, I almost had no choice. Plus I figured the little bunny could run, and maybe he/it wouldn't come back and would run away home.

    Now, Bullet is a hunting dog. He comes from prime hunting stock. His ancestors have names like "Wilson's Rabbit Tracker" and "Roscoes Red Sawdof Browning Shotgun". I thought for sure, he would smell that rabbit and head out "on hunt", as we used to call it when he would transform into hunting mode.

    Didn't work that way. The lab remained obedient, the bunny remained "Reaganesque" and Bullet missed it all. He simply wandered out a ways, did his business, and headed back to the porch. Well, he is getting older, after all. And it was dark out. The lab wasn't chasing or barking anymore; there couldn't be too much going on out here. There are lots and lots of reasons why the beagle missed his chance to hunt. The younger beagle would have been so disappointed in the older beagle. The bunny won.

    I brought both dogs back into the house. If the little bunny was after water, I wanted him to be able to get it. I really don't want anything to happen to him. He has survived this long; I am not going to play a part in his demise.

    I felt bad for the beagle; I was proud of the lab...and I'm still shaking my head over that troublesome, silly wabbit.

    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    One of Us

    My phone crashed yesterday. I mean big time, flat out, without warning, complete crash. Ugh! I didn’t panic though. I was in town with Matt, and when I noticed, I knew the cell phone store would be our next stop.

    We had just stopped for gas before heading home and when Matthew got back into his truck, I informed him, “Next stop, Verizon.”

    He looked at me quizzically. “Phone crash,” was all I said. He knows me well, and knows I don’t like to be without a phone.

    Well, I know I shouldn't be this bold, but I would like to say, I won’t EVER be without a phone. But I know better than to say something like that. In all reality, though, I feel like I absolutely cannot be without a phone so that my husband and my folks are able to get in touch with me at any given moment. For that reason, my phone never and I mean NEVER leaves my side.  My folks had needed me one other time several years ago, and could not reach me. I vowed to never let that happen again.

    Anyway, I didn’t panic when I saw my old phone had gone kaput. I knew I had had a free upgrade for sometime now, and I was so thankful the crash happened while already in town.

    The biggest downfall was loosing my contact list. If that is the most I have to worry about, that isn’t much. However, I did like that list! I had worked hard on it. I mean I had it exactly like I wanted it. I was just thinking the other day, how perfect it was. I know! How many people think about the perfection of their contact list? How can one not? I mean I had just about every person I know in there; I had my friends as well as a few of Matt’s friends. I had work contacts to reach both my husband and son if necessary. I had doctors for my family and folks; and bookstores; the Capitol and State Senators! Why, I even had the local movie theatre in there that I only attend about once every 5 years!  But hey, if I want to know what’s playing when I hear of a movie that is coming out that I might be interested in, that was a pretty convenient number to have. Ahhh, the convenience was soooo nice!

    I told Matt we should try the cellular store that was just up the street from where we were getting gas. We had been there before and did ok there.  It would be quick and easy and then we could get back on our way.

    We were greeted at the door immediately. Yey, I thought, we hit the right time of day to come: late afternoon, but before the after-work rush started. However, it didn’t take me but a moment to figure out, I wasn’t going to do very well here. When I told the clerk what I needed all was fine, but when I asked her about checking my plan, I sensed a bit of unwillingness from her.  She tried to talk me out of it, saying she was sure I wouldn’t do any better.  She started talking about a bunch of stuff, I didn’t really need to know.

    "Well wait a minute," I countered…"I just need to know [such and such]"…and I explained what I needed to know. (I will spare you the details) She balked, and then she lied. I knew she had lied, and that was, in fact, confirmed later.

    “You know, I am just not in the right frame of mind to do this right now”, I told her. And then we left. I guess I lied too, because I really wanted to tell her. “I reallllllly am NOT going to work with you. I'm outta here!”

    But on top of all that, I had frustrated Matt. I felt bad I had done that and I explained as we headed out the door. "I can't work with someone I don't trust. I'm sorry," I whispered.

    “Let’s go up to the main store,” I told him when we got in the car. “That just wasn’t working for me.”

    I got greeted right away at the next store, too. A nice looking young man with a big smile welcomed me. “What can I do for you?” he asked.

    I sensed right away it was going to be different this time…I don’t know, but I always just sense attitudes. I think that’s common when one is paying careful attention.

    I told the young man what I needed, “But,” I said, “I have a few questions, first.”

    “Great!” he said. “Well come on over here and we will look at everything.”

    This is better already, I thought to myself. Matt had dropped me off and gone up to run another errand.  We knew this would take a while and he would have time to do that.

    The young man talked me through everything, always with a smile and even a joke or two. I was well-pleased by the time Matt got back. Then they connected as well.  We started talking about any number of things. God, politics; kids and the way they should be raised; the way he was raised.

    I was absolutely loving this kid by now. Where did you come from? I asked him meaning “you are not fitting into this world” kind of question rather than where he was from geographically. He had already told us that; North Dakota. “There are not many like you around, anymore.” I explained further.

    But he already knew what I had meant when I said it, and so did Matthew. And we all got a good laugh when Matthew said. “He already told you, North Dakota.” We laughed because we all knew that wasn’t what I meant. It was a really fun connection. And a real connection it was. This guy could have sold me the ocean…in Arizona, if he had tried.

    At some point I told him he needed to get into politics. So, if you know me, that will give you an idea of his beliefs. “I have heard that many times before,” he laughed. "There is NO way!"

    The next thing I knew he was making Norwegian jokes.  I could have been knocked over with a feather. “You are one of us! That’s what we do!” I exclaimed as I explained our little family tradition. But what I really wanted to say, was, “Can you come home for dinner, tonight?”

    Anyway, before we were done, I had just the right phone for me, with a correction in my plan. “I couldn’t retrieve your contacts,” he told me. “I’m really sorry.” And I could tell he meant it. “That’s important after all.”

    Matthew also picked up a new phone while we were there. His had not been working properly either.

    “However, I was able to save all 355 of your girlfriends, though,” he told Matt. “But you need 10 more, there are 365 days in the year, ya know.”

    I looked bewildered and our rep noticed. Sorry he told me, I couldn’t resist. 

    “It’s ok,” I responded, “I didn’t ‘get it’ anyway.” (I hadn't really been listening just then, Matthew had to explain later.)

    He laughed good-naturedly. But when Matt told him my lack of understanding was due to the fact that: “She’s Norwegian,” our new friend doubled over in full belly laughter. Just as if he was one of us! Honestly! It was so much fun!

    Oh and by the way, I found out that sure enough the female clerk at the first store had indeed lied to me about the number of minutes our family had been using. It was a lie of 3 times as many minutes as what the truth was. I had had a pretty good idea she had pegged me for a fool that didn’t know what I was doing. Our new rep. though, treated us with respect and with a servant attitude…like family would treat family. We had sure enough been blessed with a successful shopping experience due to this young man.

    “Do you get paid on commission?” I asked him as we left.

    “Yes”, he said sheepishly.

    “I don’t mean to be nosy,” I explained.  “I just want to come to you every time, now. You are the best I have ever dealt with in the cellular world. EVER!

    He beamed when I said that, but I suspect he has heard it before. He was that good! There was already a lady in line waiting for some time to see only him! He understands loyalty and service. I believe simply because he cared, and treats people…like he is "one of us".