Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Olympic Style Shopping



I just love running around town in search of those perfect gifts for my friends and family. I love the music, the lights, the people...but I only like to do it when I am all alone. Even one tag along Sweetie Pie makes the whole endeavour a bit trying. Just one person to hold me back from my carefully mapped out shopping course and my detailed synchronized time schedule, can make the festive mission fall apart.

There is little time for potty stops and snack breaks. With my list in hand and my purse harnessed securely to my back, I set off for my Christmas expedition in the iron jungle. That's what we country folk often call the city. The city at Christmastime is exciting and fun, but I am very thankful that when the day is done, I can escape the commotion and fly to my peaceful, green, open aired home for rest and recharging. I have been very fortunate not to have the dreaded car trouble, difficult salesclerk or bad driving weather to wreck my holiday shopping spree. I've not once been challenged by non-Christ-mass celebrators after wishing "Merry Christmas" to them. Everyone I've met has joined with me in using His special name to mark the season.

So, I gather my parcels, quickly accumulating in the back seat, cross items off my list with great pleasure and revel in some unplanned perfect find. I love those...those little "deals" that you come across that are just right for so-and-so. I absolutely cannot buy just anything for my people. It has to have their name on it, in some sense. So, it has to be tailor made for them AND fit within my budget...thus, such an expedition is necessary.

I had two days of this retail marathon this year...from about 9:00 am until 5:00 pm...without stopping. Along with quite a few homemade gifts, my Santa bag was full. I didn't even notice my aching hips (my feet are fine...it's the hips that suffer) or my low blood sugar from forgetting to eat, until I got home. I crash on my bed with sugar plums dancing in my head. Wanting to share my exciting gift discoveries, but I can't...must wait for the 25th...giggling like a child. It really is greater to give than to receive, I just had to get a lot older to realize it.

Most people become paralyzingly fatigued upon entrance of a shopping mall. For some reason, I get charged up. The adrenalin starts pumping and my mind is set on a course. I take my sport very seriously. I am a dedicated athlete. I'm sure I lost weight during those shopping days, only to regain them with Christmas cookies and egg nog. So now the wrapping begins. That part is not so much fun for me. I love gift bags.

I know, I know...it's not the presents that matter...but it is when you are GIVING them. They absolutely do not have to be expensive, just from the heart. Jesus gave so much to us by coming here and He wants us to give too. Personalized, thoughtful gifts that let people know how much we love them. If you can't find anything, just call me. I am a trained, experienced shopper. If chess is considered a sport, then why can't shopping?

Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Quest for the Buckwheat Pillow"





Every morning, I get up before daylight. I'm the only one awake. I could lay there longer, my body would not object, but my mind is relentless. As soon as I am almost conscious, my cerebellum, cerebrum and every other cognitive part are in cahoots to keep me from more slumber. So...I get up. I search for my slippers in the dark. Every morning. I try to remember to strategically place them beside the bed the night before, but alas, I never remember. One time I did, and my stealthy exit was successful, but only once. It's a mental block. I really don't want to wake up my husband. There is no need for him to be up at 5:00ish am, and I need the time all alone in the morning.

The cat, who is generally antisocial and somewhat narcissistic, decides to be affectionate at this time, aiming at my stumbling feet. I run the short cat gauntlet to the stove light and coffee pot without tripping. My body is not too far behind my mind in the morning, but has to run to catch up. Lately, it's Christmas gifts on my mind. As soon as the stage curtain of my mind opens, I am calculating the Christmas budget, reminding myself of a forgotten gift recipient or deciding which candy cane flavor to give the kids this year. Eventually, after two or three sips of beloved Folgers, I raise my mug toasting the morning and welcoming Jesus to my day. I spend some time talking to Him, reading His lovely words to me and preparing my heart for whatever is to come.

Once I do this, my mind calms a bit and I gain some control over the thoughts. The "to do" list is written, the email is answered (blogs are written) and the daylight begins to appear, a necessary reminder that the other people in the house need to be revived. The dog goes out, I make my rounds with the torturous "rise and shine" song and flex my arm muscles dragging 5 people into the morning. My spirits are up, my energy is at its peak and much is accomplished...until about 1:oo pm.

If an afternoon siesta is avoided and my exercise routine is honored, production continues. Energy is definitely lost and my thoughts sort of coast instead of accelerate. Activities of a more enjoyable flavor happen in the afternoon, so as not to provoke my mental stability. Cooking, music, going outside even housework (yes, I like housework) keep my happy boat afloat until evening.

Early evening is when I have to slap in the Anthony Robbins tape (really...just kidding) for motivation not to go to bed at 6:oo pm. Hockey games and church meetings are timely scheduled here, redeeming the last third of the day. By about 9:00 pm, the curtain of my mind is closing, my body is happy to be still, but my hands have not yet settled. Thank goodness for knitting, or I would be 200lbs from the popcorn bowl to mouth hobby. About the only thing passing through my mind at this time is "knit one, purl one", "Are the little ones asleep yet?" or some kind of static like sound with muffles and snippets of the days conversations. The slightest seed of worrisome situations can sprout into mental panic at this fragile time, so light entertainment is well justified in my production oriented mind.

The day is done. I revel in joy of what has been accomplished, thank God for another splash of His grace and mercy, kiss the faces of the most treasured people in my world and rest my head on my buckwheat pillow (I mention this because buckwheat pillows are so awesome) for precious sleep.

I'm not sure that what goes on in my mind during sleep would be bloggable. Interesting, but subject to much psychological scrutiny and that is just not necessary...nor productive...it's early morning and I have things to do.



Saturday, December 4, 2010

Science, Reason and Shortbread Cookies



Confidence has never been one of my strongest features. It might seem so, but that is just because acting is a stronger one. Struggling with confidence is a good thing, an ongoing exercise of finding the right balance. You don't want to be a soft, weak, unstable pushover, full of fear and headed for the Funny Farm, nor do you want to be an arrogant, over-informed fool who is headed for a humbling, shameful fall. The plight of the Atheist at Christmastime has been causing me to think about this lately. Have you seen the billboard, somewhere in the US, on the news? It says (with a nativity scene in the background):

"You KNOW it's a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON"

It will always be a mystery to me, how anyone could have so much confidence in oneself or other people, to the point of rejecting a diety of any kind over their own mind and body. You would think that with the plethora (that means a REALLY large amount...I just love how it sounds) of absolutely terrifying history of war, mental/spiritual disaster and other human tragedy, we would know better by now. Yet people still hold the human mind up as their Messiah. I know it's not all bad...but it is mostly. Sure, there is the odd hero story here and there in history of human achievement, but that's why they are so highlighted...because of the sea of failure we are constantly drowning in. We need these episodes of grace to give us a breather. They help us through as we continue to reject God and insist on pursuing man. I don't want to sound too negative, but the good news just loses it's effect when there is no bad news in the background. If we can accept and get over the truth of our helplessness, jump that critical hurdle, then the finish line would be in sight and the race can be won.

I appreciate science and reason. Philosophy class was one of my favorites in University and my favorite subject in our homeschool is "Think" class, formally known as Logic. It's an ongoing, all day long class, realized when Mom or Dad responds to kid questions or dilemmas by the simple "Think" directive. No other subject in my education amazed and drew me more than Biology. The pure sciences are a whole world of awesome. They are a never ending, mind boggling place for us to explore and test...and we should. But to come to a humanistic conclusion after having realized the depth of biology and the vastness of astronomy, to me, is foolishness. To elevate the human mind and body in light of what we now know through science itself, and to ignore or invalidate that which we cannot see or understand, will be our fall...and is the cause of our inability to achieve "Peace on Earth".

Science and reason fail when the supernatural occurs. You don't have to be a Ghost Whisperer to experience the supernatural. You simply need to have known love, heard a symphony or watched a child recover from disease under a perplexed surgeon. Robots, we are not. Gods, we are not. Dependent, limited, talented and very much loved...we are. Confidence comes from knowing we belong to a perfect God. Anything else is a masquerade. Having said all of this, I still have no problem sharing my shortbread cookies at Christmastime with any Atheist friend...just don't take away my shortbread cookies.

"We have a right to believe whatever we want, but not everything we believe is right."
Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias is likely the best apologist I have ever read when it comes to reason and theology. Check him out.

Galatians 6:14-15 "But may it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."