Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My not-so-little-anymore-little-boys

It has been a long time since my children were pre-adolsecents. Decades, in fact.

It is amazing to me the things I have forgotten

Like how funny the word 'ass' is in the Christmas story to a ten year old boy. Or, that any mention of words like 'balls' or 'nuts' can elict a giggling fit that lasts for half an hour.

Or how, once the fit is almost over, his brother can simply say the word-not even in a sentence- just the word...and the giggling begins again.

Ahh...the joys of boys. I've spent the past few days with my grandsons, and have had a delightful time.

I threw caution to the wind and laughed at a fart joke or two. I took them to spend the Christmas money that was burning holes in their pockets. We bought some shelves and beanbag chairs for their room at my house (with my money...not theirs). We ate cereal for dinner...just because we wanted to. I let them stay up late and play their video games after lights out.

I buy HoneyBuns by the case at Costco and that is what they eat for breakfast at my house.

For a Grandmother, I am pretty doggone cool! At least to my grandsons.

My children have observed that I allow my grandsons to do things I would have NEVER allowed them to do. They are absolutely right. But, then...I wasn't their grandmother.

I know that it won't be long before they give their hearts and minds to the fumes: the gas fumes of their first automobiles and the per-fume of their first girlfriends. Probably not in that order, either! Until then, I can laugh at the fart jokes and giggle with not-so-little-anymore-little-boys.

Monday, December 21, 2009


My last post was about ANTICIPATION. About how anxious I was for Saturday night when my Rocket Man would step off that Delta Flight and be home for the holidays.

So, guess what? It didn't happen.

His presence is required in Florida for meetings on Monday and Tuesday. It did not make sense for him to fly home on Saturday night, only to turn around and fly back on Sunday. Really. It didn't.

That didn't make my disappointment any easier to swallow.

In all the plans, scenarios, thoughts, hopes and dreams I had for Christmas this year...this particular set of circumstances never even crossed my mind.

But you know what? I'm thankful that he has a good job and that he enjoys his work. I'm very thankful that he really wants to come home to me. I'm very, Very, VERY thankful that I have lots and lots of minutes on my cell phone plan. Lots. I think we've used them this weekend.

And, won't the disappointment on Saturday make the homecoming on Wednesday all the sweeter? I'm counting on it.


Thursday, December 17, 2009


Isn’t that what Advent is all about?
We are waiting expectantly for the new born King-for the Christ Child who became flesh and dwelt among us. We yearn for THE day..and the night before. We are so geared right now for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We know how many days it is until Christmas. Some know how many hours of shopping time are left. I know people who have no shopping left to do, and others who haven’t even started.

I remember when my children were small, the anticipation was crushing. We lived far away from family and only went home a few times while they were growing up. Every package from faraway places only added to the anticipation. My mother-in-law was quite a stickler for opening presents on CHRISTMAS MORNING…not Christmas Eve, certainly not when they arrived. She always marked the packages in magic marker with the words ‘Do NOT open until December 25’ and other such things.

The presents would go immediately under our tree, which we put up the day after Thanksgiving. Much shaking and wondering what could be in those packages. They would come from other relatives and the pile would grow. Pleas to open just one present were constant.

I believe that Christmas happens daily and in our hearts, so I never cared so much when those gifts were opened, much to my mother-in-law’s chagrin. I don’t think my children ratted me out, I think she just knew. I let Jamie and Annie open gifts before Christmas. Usually not before the 20th (although why I picked that date out as an okay date to open gifts is a mystery to me), but often daily after that. It just didn’t matter so much to me.

I know that my friends were aghast. I was the mother who made it hard for all the others. Along with my gift-opening non-compliance with THE RULES, we didn’t have Santa at our house. We weren’t evangelical about it. I promised all sorts of consequences of biblical proportion if my children told other children that Santa didn’t really bring their gifts. It was sort of our little secret. But people knew that we didn’t have Santa and we were THAT family who didn’t believe. My pastor’s wife once asked me why I ruined Christmas for my children and just what our focus was if we didn’t have Santa. I shrugged my shoulders and offered a timid, “Baby Jesus in the manger?” which she wasn’t even buying. Ruined Christmas? Really?

This year, memories of Christmas past have flashed past my eyes and I can almost feel those precious hands on my face and those sweet voices asking, “Momma, is it EVER going to be Christmas?” or the year I asked Jamie what he wanted for Christmas and he told me he really had everything he needed…lets just get some new toys for Annie (he was 4). Annie at 13 months in the most precious pajamas you ever saw at the midnight service with her white whispy hair and huge blue eyes, saying (loudly) “yight” every time the word “light” was said in the service. Their eyes when we were in temporary quarters over Christmas and I bought a small tree and decorated it with our most precious ornaments and they applauded because we were having Christmas…even in the TLQ. One year, as we were moving at Christmas, I flew ahead to take possession of our household goods so that they wouldn’t go into storage. We had one of those amazing door-to-door moves. They stayed at our old duty station and rode to our new home with their Daddy, with our live Christmas tree tied to the top of the car. We used it in both homes that year. So many wonderful times.

My anticipation this year is quite different. I am and have been mostly at home alone during Advent. Rocket Man is traveling. He has been home every weekend, but gone during the week. The thing I am waiting on expectantly this year is his return.

And while I still believe that Christmas truly happens in my heart, despite my geographical location or my circumstances…I am sure that the lights will be just a bit brighter, the music more harmonious and my joy in earthly things more complete when he steps off that plane on Saturday night and I know that he has come home to stay…at least through the holidays.

Having the earthly expectation this year has made me cherish the spiritual aspects of Advent all the more. I have had more time alone to ponder the past year and be so very thankful for all the blessings it has brought.

Along with all the children I know, those who are young and those who are young at heart…I am longing for Christmas Day. But more than that I am longing for Saturday night when my heart becomes whole…when order is restored in MolliWorld…when Prince Edmund comes home.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Need a Little Christmas?

Been busy? Fighting the Christmas shopping crowds...or like me, fighting my computer to purchase online? Cookies to bake? People to visit? Gifts to wrap? Have you got more list than you have time to accomplish said list before Christmas Eve ushers in Christmas Day (which, by the way is only 2 weeks from today...how did THAT happen?)

Me, too! I took one of my last vacation days of the year yesterday, just so I could work on my house and go shopping for our Church's Christmas Benefit tomorrow. Rocket Man and I help buy food for some needy families. Imagine taking a vacation day to go grocery shopping...but that is exactly what I did.

I came to work with a bit of fear and trembling today. What would be waiting for me there? I work in a church. A large church. A VERY large church on a very busy street, across from a bus stop and up the street from a hospital. My concern as I pulled into my parking space was that we might be overrun with people needing help with utilities, medication, fuel, food, christmas gifts for their children. In years past, we have been very busy with such things. There are so many needs and we have limited resources, even though we have a large congregation. No congregation could meet all the needs of the people who walk in off the street. It huts my heart to turn people away. Especially on cold winter days.

I did the things that needed to be done. I typed the bulletin for a funeral service this afternoon. I met my deadlines for the monthly newsletter. I answered calls, returned calls and emails. I corrected addresses in the database.

I'll have to say that by 2:30, I was happy about what I'd accomplished and thankful that we'd had no emergencies. As far as I know, we don't have anyone who has been rushed to the ER, Hospice hasn't been called in for anyone new, nobody has died. No one has come to my office needing anything, other than my boss and his needs were of a clerical nature.

Then the most wonderful thing happened to me. Our organist came by and asked if I would come to the sanctuary and listen to a few pieces he was working on for the Carols of Christmas on Sunday evening and for the rest of the Christmas season. I thought for a nano-second and jumped up to follow him to the sanctuary.

We have an amazing organ. Amazing. It is something like the 9th largest organ in the state. When Mark turns that thing loose, it is astonishing. Really and truly fantastic. Mark is such an accomplished and talented organist and so kind to ask me to come and listen.

As I listened to him practice some really powerful, heavy-duty organ music, a precious peace settled on me. The music was glorious. Music celebrating the birth of Christ. God's only Son who became flesh to come and dwell among us. If the practicing of a gifted musician here on earth could give me chill bumps and take me to a place of peace and comfort in a busy season...what must the hosts of heaven sounded like when they sang Gloria in excelsis Deo? I still have chill bumps!

I'm leaving now to go home.
Hurridly, as I have to bake something to take to the party we are attending tonight.
Quickly, because we will spend tomorrow helping to get Christmas gifts and food to some people in our community who are less fortunate than we.
Sadly, because washing Rocket Man's clothes and repacking them so he can leave early Monday morning is on my list for the weekend.
Frantically, because of things I have left undone that must now be done.
But along with those feelings, I'm taking a bit of that glorious mini-concert I had with me. I'm tucking it in my heart and carrying that little piece of Christmas with me. I know I'll need it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Can

I complained about the cold and wind this morning…
until I heard from someone who might be sleeping in her car tonight, because she has no place to go.

I was unhappy because I had to run out in torrential rain last night to get my trash can before it floated off…
this morning I was thankful that we sustained no wind or flood damage, as did others in our neighborhood.

I was grumpy about my headache…
until I remembered that I know someone who is having his leg amputated today.

I was resentful of a relative who I thought behaved poorly...
until I talked to someone who had a death in his family today.

You know, when I take stock of the things I have to be thankful for,
I am ashamed of even the smallest complaint I allow to settle in my thoughts…even when they go unsaid.

In this season of jingle bells, Joy to the World and heartfelt stories of Christmas miracles...I pray that I will be mindful that all around me there are people whose lives have come to pieces this very day. This very day!

My prayer is that my response to them, as our paths cross, will always be caring and concerned, even if I can’t give them the help that they ask for.

I can always pray for them.
I can always be kind to them.
I can always have compassion.
I can always let my own light shine into their darkness, so that they can see their way to a brighter tomorrow.

I can...but will I?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Mammogram Day to Me!

I’ve been a happy Mollianne today. I have been seen bouncing around The Church House just beaming. I woke up and my first thought was, “Its Mammogram Day.” Now you might not think much of Mammogram Day, and I’ll have to admit that the process itself isn’t my favorite thing in the whole world. But I have a rule and we strictly adhere to the rule.

When I have my mammogram or various and sundry other ‘female’ yearly things done, I get a prize.

I’ve had this rule for as long as I can remember. Thing was…nobody but me adhered to the rules. And buying a prize for myself just didn’t make me feel as rewarded as having somebody else give the prize.

However, I recited my rule to Rocket Man when we were first married, just in case. You know what? He bit! He asked a very logical question, “What constitutes a prize?”

Here was my chance! I could set the parameter of prize-giving! I nonchalantly said, “Ohhhh….something like a piece of jewelry, dinner out, flowers…the usual. A Prize.”

He nodded and said, “Okay.”

Okay? Could it be that easy? I love prizes! He asked what I would like for that particular mammogram and I told him I was in need of a long silver chain to wear with several pendants. Presto! I had a chain. This was going to work splendidly!

Since I try to be fair, I asked him if there was anything he had to do that was unpleasant and offered to give him a prize for that, but he didn’t seem to think he was in need of prize-receiving. Guess that is a Mars/Venus thing.

Over the years we have adjusted the prize giving and receiving. He has taken me to lunch at my choice of restaurant, he has given me flowers, and my favorite of all…he finally told me to just pick out a prize and he would pay for it. Can you believe it?

The most precious prize giving for a mammogram happened several years ago when I found a lump in my breast. I was terrified and rushed to the doctor. Of course, it happened on a Friday and the next emergency mammogram appointment wasn’t until the following Tuesday. Just hearing the words ‘emergency’ and ‘mammogram’ in the same sentence made my blood turn cold.

That was a long, long weekend. To make matters worse, Rocket Man was leaving for a meeting in Houston that he really couldn’t get out of, short of me being in surgery. Too many people were scheduled to attend and he was vital to the meeting. Besides, it was only a mammogram. Really. I think I’m big…so I said I could have that done without him. After all, they wouldn’t let him accompany me into that cold room where they keep the torture device. No boys allowed! It was probably nothing anyway. Only a very few people knew that I was going to have it done. No sense in getting folks stirred up for no good reason.

That Tuesday, the downstairs Administrative Assistant came parading into my office with the most beautiful dozen red roses that I have ever seen. They took my breath away. The card read, “A Prize Before You Go! All My Love, Ed.”

What a darling man! That mammogram showed a lump that needed to be biopsied, but the biopsy results were that the lump was benign. He was in the room with me, holding my hand when the biopsy was taken. That was the really scary part. Don't you think that benign is one of the most beautiful of all the words in the English language? I do!

So this afternoon, I’m off to get squashed. Then, I believe I will stop at Hobby Lobby and get some sort of Christmas decoration. That will serve quite nicely as my prize!