Archive for December, 2010

Christmas Comments

There are certain ‘givens’ at Christmas. One is that your lights will work when you plug them in, but then when you’ve spent 30 minutes stapling them to your house, only half light up. Two is that all women everywhere will have a meltdown where they will sob uncontrollably because of their impossible ‘Santa’s delivery length list’ that is taped to the fridge, staring at her like the wanted posters in the post office. This list can never be accomplished by any human. (But if accomplishing it were possible, only the female species could do it.) And the third given is that women tend to assess their lives at this season of the year.

I did that last night.

I think it started when we were practicing for the Christmas program at church. I watched the people who’d become my spiritual family over the last 25 years from a different view. The ‘leaving’ view. This will probably be my last year in Florida before my move to North Carolina. I will miss them all and my eyes showed it. I’ve known some of these people for 25 years. There are many new family members. I’ve grown to love them. Then there are the young adults who were babies when I joined Lakeside. They were unaware of my musings, as I watched them with their babies.

I thought of how my daughter went away to Florida State University 3 years ago. The first year she was home at Thanksgiving and set up my 6 Christmas villages, the tree and all of the lights, which was always her ‘job’. Last year she set up most of the villages and the tree. This year she positioned 4 villages, but left the rest to me, including the tree.

So when my husband complained about the tree raising, I lost it. I reminded him of everything that he’d ever done wrong and not done right. As I continued my rant, I blurted out, “This may be my last Christmas here where I have friends. Our kids won’t come and see us in the boondocks and I need you to be my friend since I won’t have one other soul to talk to—except maybe chickens!”

There. I said it. Mentally, I played the ‘what if’ game. The age old women’s Christmas carol rang in my mind:

What if Micah breaks his leg, on the eve of Christmas?
What if Sarah wrecks her car, and she goes to heaven?
What if Tommy finds a lump and it costs a fortune,
What if I can find no friends? No more Merry Christ-mas-es!

Tom saw the gravity of the situation and quietly stapled aforementioned lights above our bookshelves. He didn’t utter curses when the lights didn’t work and he had to undo all that he’d done. Together, we hoisted the tree. By the time Micah arrived home, the tension eased. I informed him that after dinner, he was decorating the tree. He gave some sort of Scrooge reply. That, was not wise.

After dinner, I cleaned up while Tom and Micah decorated the tree without complaint. I even heard a few laughs. I gave them their first lesson in gift-wrapping. They fought over tape and competed for best wrapped gift. Neither won. Grandma snuggled into her room, and I had time to contemplate.

Things change. People grow older, children move away. Some change is good, and some is hard. It’s part of life on this sin-soaked earth.

I’m studying the book of Isaiah in Bible Study Fellowship. Each week, the leader concentrates on an attribute of God. This weeks’ attribute was ‘immutability.’ God never changes. I need to trust that. Probably, you need a reminder of that, too.

Let me leave you with a verse from Isaiah 26: 3,4.

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.”

Let’s hold onto that Rock, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.

Merry Christmas.

Back to the Farm—Farm School

“We’re trying to find a way to finish them off,” the attractive, young woman stated casually as she took another sip of her drink.

I was horrified! She was discussing the cattle she and her father raised. It must have registered on my face, since she offered an explanation.

“We can’t decide what kind of grass to feed them before they’re ‘processed’—umm, err, I mean ‘butchered.’”

How do the invisible people who kill my steak dinner commit the deed?Generally, I try not to think of where my food comes from, but in some vague, faraway recess of my mind, I always assumed it was humane. My picture went something like a Farside cartoon. From outside of the frame, a hand reaches in and hands Bessie a big bunch of clover and a cigarette. Then Bessie is simply not in the next frame. The last frame shows Bessie appearing on a dinner plate—’processed.’

My husband, Tom and I were conferencees at the NC Sustainable Living Conference. Our plan is to sell all that we own, move to his family’s old homestead, and be farmers and maybe even ranchers. The only problem is that we’ve never grown anything, except two children. We barely keep our dog alive.

We had a lot to learn, but thought the classes would give us a head start. I took an intensive mushroom class—the mushrooms weren’t intensive, although I’ve never asked one. The lecturer wore brown and green stripes (of course), grew mushrooms out of wood chips and drove around town ‘inocculating’ trees with mushroom spawn. He hasn’t been arrested,…yet.

I avoided the ‘mob grazing’ class. I already know about that. It happens every Friday night at my house when my 19-year-old son’s friends show up for a late night snack.

I learned about choosing chickens that are actually able to reproduce. They’re happy about that. The other chickens—the ones you and I eat almost every day are not only dead, they’re depressed.

Who knew that people not only knew this stuff, but even studied it. I’m looking forward to putting into practice what I learned at ‘farm school,’ when Tom and I move to North Carolina. We want to grow old working on a farm until the day that we’re, ‘processed.’

Before that happens, I think I’ll be a vegan.