Monthly Archives: December 2009

Three Things

Today I spent the day in a very lovely town called Roanoke, Virginia. It was a good hour’s drive to get there and I was not driving… so I thought a lot about the historic Roanoke Hotel that I wanted to see in Roanoke. I also thought a lot about what I wanted my new year to be. Because after all, it is soon to be or already is (depending on where you live) the last day of the year 2009. As I thought about the two, it was interesting the way it sort of blended together.

I wondered if the new year would be much different from the year of 2009. (I always wonder that. Do you?) I wondered if I would be a better person. I wondered if I would help others in a way I had never helped before… some years have been that way… and some years I’ve been the one helped like I was never helped before! (God bless the people who’ve helped me!) I wondered if I would make any great changes in the way I live. (I would have to say that once

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Miracles Still Happen

Sometimes I wonder to myself as I sit down to write, should I tell this story? This one is really amazing… probably because it happened to me. So should I tell it? This Christmas Eve Day… a day dedicated to miracles. Yes. So yes, I shall. Maybe it will resonate in some way with you. Merry Christmas to all… Here is the true story that I remember as “The shopping Cart Miracle.”

I had only three of the four bros at the time. I wasn’t pregnant with number four yet. But I already felt as if I was feeding a regiment. I would go to the food store and fill two grocery carts from the very bottom to over flowing on the top. I would try to total the cost (in my head) for all those items on my carefully planned shopping list. It was consistently more than I could afford. Shopping was the least favorite thing I did, because it is a terrible thing to feel like you can’t pay for the lives you of whom you are in charge. I wanted… I needed this

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More Shopping More Gifts

Isn’t it interesting the way the mind works. We start out on one path and that takes us to another and then another. The next thing we know, we’re saying, “What?” or “Where are we?” So it was for me just the other day. A half hour coffee date with a friend became an entirely different path than expected.
9:30 a.m. A trip to the high school to take her son some forgotten items that he needed for the day.
10:00 a.m. Christmas gift shopping
11:30 a.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. Closing out the day with more shopping. (Stores I had never set foot in, and others that I didn’t even know existed.)

It wasn’t my adventure: it was hers. I was just along for the ride as company. Throughout the day, she chatted freely about family life with three children and the joy she found in doing any and everything they needed. It reminded me of a time that seems like yesterday, and yet so long ago.

December 17th, 1981:
The bros and I took off on a Christmas shopping trip of our own with all three talking at once and excited about spending their cachet of savings.

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This Is Too Rich

Yesterday: I was writing and writing away, one project after another. In the background I could hear first the football highlights, then the football highlights discussion… I was getting tired of the volume cranked up with our surround sound set-up. I found my mind wondering to the freezer with every sentence I composed. Soon, that “want a fudge bar” grew into a “must have,” and by the time I finished writing my project I was sure that I had earned a treat. After all, I was having to write in the same room as the TV and the competition had been stiff. So the “want” permanently billowed into “must have.”

Over to the freezer I went and opened the door. One quick look told me all I needed to know. Fudge bars GONE! I asked Hubby what happened to that box (as if I didn’t know)… He didn’t even look up from the TV, just hollered my way (because the game was on and of course had to be very loud to give the feel of “being there”… or so I’d been told)… Those fudge bars were gone last night.”

This was

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The Quest

At this time of year (as we think of others and buy buy buy to show our love), I find myself going back in time, to thoughts of my maternal grandmother who saved saved saved.

Yes, she was an amazingly frugal woman. She could save to the extreme. Grandma would stash a little away before she paid the bills, before she sent savings to the bank (which she did every pay check). This was her habit until after she passed away. Her thrift became evident when I went home for her funeral.

I was helping my granddad by making up all the beds for him; and as I was tucking the blankets into one of the guest beds, my hand touched something that felt foreign for the underside of a mattress. I lifted the mattress a bit only to find a considerable cachet of cash. I didn’t even count it. I took it straight away to my granddad.

I told him the story… how I came by the money. I waited as Grandpa took it, counted it, held it for a moment. Then he looked up with big tears rolling down both

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Let There Be Lights

A few days ago, I whiled away the early evening as I watched a Christmas flick where the hero made a complete fool of himself trying to put more lights on his house than anyone else on the planet. You know this one? He was totally obsessed with lights in every way shape and form. I thought, “That’s just nuts,” and then I walked outside. All of my neighbors (no it’s true!) were putting up Christmas lights.
*Lights on the roof.
*Lights on reindeer
*Lights around the front door
*Lights on the windows and in the windows
*Lights that blinked and lights that didn’t blink
*Lights sans color
*Lights of every color
There were displays of Santas that heaved with air inside and they were lit up! (Scary. It was actually a balloon filled with air, but still… Santa “breathing” like the last chimney was going to give him a heat attack? The sound was awful.)

We had put up our Christmas tree a few days previous. You could see it in the front window of the house, so we had lights that decorated the house… well, sort of. Now it was me who was thinking lights lights lights.

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The very word can strike terror in one’s heart. And ya know? This was not that big a thing when I was a kid. My parents would toss their three kids in the car. We would park, get out. And immediately my dad would say, “I’ll take Carolyn.” It would be settled… Tom and Barb would go with our mother to shop for their Christmas gifts. One day I asked my dad why he always wanted to take me Christmas shopping. He said, “Because you’re the best shopper. You don’t have to see everything in town to buy a gift. You know the people you’re shopping for, and they always enjoy the gift you give them. And the very best part of this for me is that when I take you shopping we are done in a very short time; then we can just walk around and enjoy each other while your mother and Tom and Barb finish up.”

“Wow! That’s a pretty good thing,” I thought.

I had always believed that everyone was a natural shopper. Now that I am shopping sans father, I can’t say that I

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