Monthly Archives: December 2011

Looking Back

In just a few hours 2011 will be history.

It will be time to take down the calendar that has graced my refrigerator for the last 365 days – with its curled corners, loose pages and food stains.

For the past year it has recorded important birthdays, visits, and trips. It has reminded us of appointments, kept us organized, and recorded our days.

Days that were full of activity.

Laughter.

Tears.

Excitement.

Uncertainty.

Joy.

Pain.

In it’s place I’ll hang our brand new – spotless – calendar. It’s pages empty and waiting.

What will those pages record?

What will the next 366 days bring?

Whatever comes our way in 2012, I can rest assured that God is still in control.

Just as He was in the last 365 days.

Psalm 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, so that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Wishing you all a blessed and Happy New Year!

“It’s Buddy the Elf…”

Ahh… the Christmas holidays.

Lots of goodies to eat, special times with friends and family, Christmas cards and letters in the mail, and… lots of politics.

Since we are privileged to live in Iowa – with the coveted first in the nation caucus – every four years we get to spend our holidays with presidential hopefuls.

This was one of those years.

Every day the mailman leaves a handful of campaign mailings among the brightly colored Christmas cards.

Those really don’t bother me much – other than the horrible waste of resources. I just file them in the wastebasket as soon as they come in. 

What is really getting on our nerves is all the phone calls.

“Hi! This is so and so calling for so and so candidate…” Click.

“Hi! Stay on the line for a live town hall meeting with…” Click.

One candidate in particular is very annoying. We get a call from his campaign at least once a day. Interestingly – he’s one candidate that is rarely in the state campaigning – he just sends oodles of junk mail and annoys us with daily automated phone calls. We’re not impressed.

It was so bad that one afternoon when the phone rang I told Pedro that if it was that particular candidate I would scream.

It was.

I did.

I would estimate 98% of the calls we received in the last 4 weeks were either political or from telemarketers. No one wants to answer the phone anymore! And when we do –  we’re not always friendly.

The kids have started having lots of fun talking back to the canned calls – especially the ones that come during meal times.

“Hey – nice of you to call! Say hi to the wife and kids!”

“Great to hear from you! We’d be happy to spend New Year’s in the Bahamas with you!”

“Thanks for all the great campaign literature! We have enough now to wallpaper the chicken coop!”

But still the calls keep coming.

Finally Dagmar – after threatening to do it for weeks – answered the phone with a line borrowed from a favorite Christmas movie  –

“Hi! It’s Buddy the Elf! What’s your favorite color?”

There was silence on the other end – then a blessed click.

We doubled over with laughter!

Thankfully, the 2012 Iowa Caucus will soon be history and all the candidates will pack up their campaign literature and phone lists and annoy another state.

But until then – if Buddy the Elf should happen to answer when you call – just laugh and answer the question.

I can’t wait to see Dagmar’s expression when you do! 🙂

The Best Christmas Story of All

I’ve saved the best for last!

The very best Christmas story ever is the very first Christmas story ever…

The story of a tiny baby born in a stable in Bethlehem who grew to be the Savior of the world.

The true gift of Christmas

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth…” John 1:13-15

May the glory of Christmas live in your hearts this Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my home to yours.

Photo courtesy of Nils Fretwurst.

Christmas Cookie Rules

If your house is anything like mine – there is an abundance of yummy goodness sitting around tempting me this time of year. A sweet friend (Thanks Laura Beth!) sent me this list of rules to help me stay on track! I thought you might enjoy it!

Cookies1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test and thus calorie free.

2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.

3. If a friend comes over while you’re making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend’s first cookie is calorie free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free.

4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.

5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.

6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five – one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!

7. Cookies eaten while watching “Miracle on 34th Street” have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one’s personal fuel.

8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.

9. Any cookies consumed from someone else’s plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING!

10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It’s a rule!

Now – go enjoy those goodies guilt -free!

“Chwistmas” Sausage

MeatI was in the midst of Christmas preparations Saturday afternoon when I heard a timid knock at the door.

I opened it to discover two adorable Amish children on my step, a little girl about seven and her five year old brother.

All rosy cheeked with big eyes – I decided that they must be from Herman’s, our southern neighbors, since the youngest ones to the north are all boys.

I couldn’t help but smile at their cuteness as I said, ” Well hello. How can I help you?”

The adorable little Amish girl looked terrified as she handed me a plastic grocery bag, “This is for you.”

I smile again and said, “Oh, thank you!”

My response must have given her courage, because she gave me a tentative little smile and added, “It’s ‘fwesh’ sausage.”

Then I understood – Herman’s had butchered that week and the older ones were all busy helping, so the younger ones were given the task of delivering a gift of sausage to the neighbor lady -me!

I gave them an even bigger smile and said, “Oh – that sounds yummy!”

She smiled a little bigger and said eagerly, “It’s ‘alweady’ salted and peppered!”

“Oh , so all I need to do is cook it and eat it?” I ask.

She’s nodded and added, “It’s for your Chwistmas!”

“Oh, Christmas sausage! That’s the best kind!” I say.

I’m rewarded with two very big, very relieved smiles.

“You stay right there!” I tell them – and walk into the kitchen and find two of the most sprinkle-covered sugar cookies.

Their eyes got big and they grinned from ear-to-ear as I put one in each of their mitten-covered hands.

“Thank you!” was their heart-felt response as they turned and started the half- mile walk home.

I smiled as I watched them go.

“Chwistmas” sausage, indeed!