Published in the Rains County Leader on November 17, 2022:
It’s that time of year again. Yes, it’s time to begin preparations for the holidays, but it’s also time to complain – about everything! As I finally sat down to write my column after a busy week, I scanned through that valuable source of inspiration – Twitter. As sometimes happens, among the usual time-wasting nonsense, I found a gem – Concentrate on counting your blessings and you’ll have little time to count anything else.
Apparently, there’s not a lot of blessing counting going on these days, because a lot of people are finding a lot of time to complain. Since the mid-term elections were just held last week, politics seems to be the focus of many complaints: the process is not fair, the voting requirements are too strict or not strict enough, there’s no one good to vote for, the counting process takes too long, the wrong candidate won, and too many other complaints to list.
But surely there are political blessings in there somewhere if we concentrate hard enough. We have the right to vote, and we have a variety of times and methods to accomplish that process. And even when all your favorites didn’t win, some did. If you didn’t like any of the choices, you have the opportunity to get involved at a grass roots level to get behind a candidate you can really support.
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 6, 2020:
I loved the Fourth of July when I was a kid. We lived inside the city limits where the authorities frowned on the fun stuff like roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire and shooting off fireworks. So we usually celebrated Independence Day at Aunt Fay’s. In addition to the fire-roasted treats, the menu also included potato salad, chips, watermelon, iced tea, Kool-Aid, and home churned ice cream. In later years when Uncle Dean bought the first charcoal grill I had ever seen, hamburgers were added.
While the adults prepared the food, the seven kids (me, my brother, and our five cousins) ran around Fay and Dean’s unfenced acreage, making noise and getting dirty. Sometimes we visited the food site to grab a chip or take turns sitting on the ice cream churn. By the time dinner was ready, we needed no prompting to come and eat. Everything was always delicious – food always tastes better when eaten outside on paper plates and sprinkled with a little bit of dirt. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on November 19, 2019:
Pastor Appreciation Day was last month, and I pretty much let it slide by. I told myself that I let Pastor Jason know on a regular basis how much I appreciate him, but something happened on Sunday that I couldn’t let pass without notice.
Last weekend, Pastor Jason and his wife Stacy took some much deserved personal time. Believers’ Baptist is blessed with people who can step in to fill the pulpit and play the keyboard when the Rolens are gone, but it’s always nice to have the family back together. Sunday was extra special because we were celebrating the Lord’s Supper after the worship service.
After Stacy finished the prelude, Pastor Jason went through the announcements, read a passage of Scripture as a call to worship, and lead us in the opening prayer. Before he began, he mentioned how much he and Stacy had enjoyed their weekend, especially Sunday morning. The church they visited was celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and for the first time in their 20+ years of marriage, they were able to sit in the pew together and take Communion as a couple. That’s just one of many things they give up to minister to their church family. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on January 3, 2017:
I don’t make a big deal out of the holidays. Aside from a live Christmas wreath my brother and sister-in-law send us each year for our front door, David and I do very little decorating. It’s not that we don’t enjoy the lights and tinsel, but we have a small house with very little extra space for a tree – and now we have Kitty! We also don’t do a lot of shopping. Our needs are simple, and we tend to buy what we want or need as we go along, so we don’t have much of a Christmas list when December rolls around. In addition to decorating and shopping, there was a time when I spent a lot of time in the kitchen during the holidays, baking and making candy and other once-a-year treats. However, since we both deal with health concerns that are intensified by extra sugar, flour, and butter, I don’t do much of that any more either. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 29, 2016:
Above all else, Easter is the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Beyond that, it is a time of tradition. When I was growing up, Easter was, among other things, a time for new clothes, big family dinners, and pictures. This year involved two out of three, but in a rather non-traditional way. (more…)
The Ghost of Christmas Present
After weeks of preparation and excitement, the big day has come and gone. The stores are still full of shoppers taking advantage of post-holiday sales, using gift cards, and returning items that just didn’t work. Restaurants are full of people who can’t face one more meal of leftovers now that the pecan pie is gone. Houses are full of kids who have settled back into there’s-nothing-to-do mode and adults who are looking at the decorations and wondering where they’re going to store all the festivities until next year.
Opinions vary widely on when the decorations should come down. Some people begin dismantling the tree while Christmas dinner is being prepared, some take them down while nursing a New Year’s hangover, and some leave them up until after Epiphany, the 12th day after Christmas. Regardless of when the last box of ornaments makes it back into the attic or the last cookie is thrown out, falling victim to yet another resolution to lose a few pounds, when does Christmas really end? (more…)
No, I don’t mean that gifts appeared under the tree before December 24 or 25 – depending on when Santa traditionally makes his visit to your house. It’s just that yesterday, December 18, seemed to be particularly filled with Christmas-y things and feelings.
First, we had our Christmas lunch at the Senior Center. In honor of the occasion, I donned one of my two Christmas sweaters, one of my two pair of Christmas earrings, and one of my two pair of Christmas socks. That in itself made me feel very festive. There was lots of other holiday wear at the Center, along with smiling faces and happy chatter. There was a special table filled with desserts prepared for the occasion by various volunteers, and there was a small goodie bag for each of us – a pen and calendar provided by the restaurant that caters the meals, a candy cane and a few miniature chocolate bars, and a card signed by all the Center employees. It wasn’t much, but it felt like Christmas joy. (more…)
I went Christmas shopping earlier this week, and it was fun. My budget is limited, so I didn’t feel pressured to find the perfect gift for each one on my list. Instead I shopped the way Mom and I did when I was a kid. I went to a local store and wandered through the aisles until something jumped out me. But regardless of how you shop, there are those gifts that simply fail.
A frying pan – really?
The year I was 16, I couldn’t wait to go Christmas shopping. I worked at Woolworth’s making $1.10 an hour, and I was anxious to share my wealth. I don’t remember most of what I bought, but I remember what I got Mom – a frying pan. (more…)
A beautiful place to relax and reflect.
David and I spent Thanksgiving Day with his family at his younger sister’s home. She and her husband have a beautiful place outside of town, away from the noise and chaos of civilization – the perfect place to pause and reflect on our many blessings. I made a quick sweep with my camera while last minute preparations were being made for lunch. As we joined hands to offer thanks, I put down my camera and recorded the meal and the naps and the football and the love in my heart. (more…)
The Ghost of Christmas Present
Thursday afternoon I posted a “Bah Humbug” Facebook comment about a local radio station that has changed its format to all Christmas music for the duration. To say that my brother loves Christmas would be a huge understatement. In fact, he makes the Ghost of Christmas Present look like Scrooge, and he took exception to my comment and those of some of my friends. This was his last entry: Can anybody explain to my simple mind the abject travesty of playing Christmas music and putting up lights in the first half of November? I’m really having a hard time with all this negativity!
I started to respond, but realized it was going to involve more typing than I wanted to do on my phone, so I shifted into blogger mode and started thinking in terms of a post. After mulling through a few thoughts that seemed familiar, I realized that I wrote how I feel about the holidays in 2011. It was well received, so I posted it again last year. Now, for what is becoming a Life After Caregiving tradition, here’s the 3rd annual posting of “Feeling the Holiday Spirit.”
Yesterday one of my Facebook friends posted this question: Am I the only one not feeling the holiday spirit? I left a witty, social network kind of reply, but I’ve been thinking about it since then. Am I feeing the holiday spirit? My first question is which holiday are we talking about? My next question is what does the holiday spirit feel like? (more…)