spirit

 

 

 

Christmas Eve finds my wrapping room looking like this.

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still have presents to wrap

 

Attempted to take my festive yearly weiner-dog tidings of great joy shot, but the pose wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

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JOY!!

I swear that dog gets closer to the ground every year…even flat on my belly is not low enough for this portrait. Geez.

Made a nerdy Christmas shirt for the Grandson.

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Made it with left over fabric from his sister’s Christmas dress. I’m all about matching these days.

He pronounced it ‘comfy’. Success.

Waiting on some loved ones to arrive and make our Christmas celebration complete.

Random Christmas Rant: This Elf on the Shelf business is ridiculous, people. Let me get this straight…there’s an elf in your house the kids are not allowed to touch. He/she is spying on them and reporting straight to police Santa on their naughty/nice behavior. Then the despised beloved snitch-elf flies back to the North Pole after Christmas leaving the tiny tots in tear-puddles of abandonment. This is helpful during the Christmas season? rrriiiight.

May I offer a healthier option? Behold.

wienerinthewindowI’m calling her Weiner in the Window. The little doxy-reindeer never snitches. She greets your return with unbridled excitement. She doesn’t give a royal rip if you’re naughty or nice as long as there are abundant dog treats and a warm booty to curl up in bed with every night. You’re allowed to touch her all you want and she hangs around AFTER Christmas. She serves as a nice plate-licker, as well.

Weiner in the Window. It has a nice ring…..

Enjoy this day. Hope you will be blessed by the presence of the Christ-child’s arrival. Hope you always find something welcoming in your window.

Festive love to all.

 

 

browns

Are you up to your eyebrows in Christmas busy-ness? Have you checked your list? You baking your guts out and then snicky-snacking your guts out?

With the assistance of bad cell phone photos, I’ll bring you up to speed on my Christmas preparations. Here goes:

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Over-achieved one evening and made Christmas cookies. This was the easy part. Looked like a multicolored tornado raged through my kitchen when I decorated them. Can you say ‘backache’?
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Sunday found me in the choir ready to sing John Rutter’s ‘Gloria’.
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We had a full house, though you can’t tell it from this photo. Started to take a selfie in front of the big Christmas tree. I resisted.
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Took a walk today. 60 degrees and perfectly calm. I was struck by the winter browns. Gray, beige and brown rule the winter-time around here. Saw a lovely herd of deer.
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Dead tree. Victim of too many years of drought. It does provide a nice home for a barn owl, though. Don’t look too hard-the owl is NOT in this pic! Sorry.
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More browns surround the lonely little country house.
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Was Jesus born in a barn like this?
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I doubt there was a mini-horse at the manger.
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Was there a big animal close by who sniffed the head of the newborn king? A donkey? A sheep?
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Did the animals sense the importance of the star?
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My side-kick. On our walks, she manages the security on the ground. She savors the scent of every deer, jackrabbit and snake. She resents it terribly when I tell her there was no dachshund present at Jesus’ birth.

I feel incredibly blessed this Christmas season. I know so many others though, who are hurting and suffering. This time of year can be a trial for people. I try to remember to give thanks for my blessings and pray for those who are struggling, realizing we all have our trials. God bless us.

Here’s a couple of fun pics I took with the good camera. They make me smile. You’ve already seen them if you follow me on Facebook.

reindeer Dressing dogs in Christmas costumes. It’s a sickness, I know. It’s just that the doxy loves it soooo much!

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My vote for December picture of the month.

Did I mention blessings? I’m grateful.

Is your heart ready for the hope and wonder of the Savior’s birth? He’s coming.

Here’s hoping the browns aren’t getting you down.

Green, shiny tinsel-y love to all.

divine intervention

Divine intervention. Lord knows, I need it.

I’ve been busy with my annual divinity-making project. Keep dreaming of heavenly creaminess and the crunch of  fresh pecans. Even though I always aspire my candy to be celestial perfection, too often the results are simply earthly.

Some of the cast of characters.

If you ever watched your mother or grandmother make this candy, you probably learned some fun, new curse words. Divinity is persnickety. One of my batches today was a total loss. Had to pry it with hammer and chisel out of the mixing pan. Over the years, I’ve developed my own rules for making this Christmas candy.

Rules for making Divinity

1. Measure all ingredients carefully. Sugar must be measured to the last granule.

Pouring the hot syrup into the beaten egg whites.

2. Don’t attempt to make divinity on a day with a humidity level over 40%. Candy won’t set up.

3. Do not attempt to make divinity on a day with a humidity level under 30%. Candy will be as hard as an anvil.

Lovely pecans.

4. Have a USDA-NASA certified candy thermometer. Must be accurate within a millionth of a degree Fahrenheit.

5. Beware making divinity in a leap year.

Ready to spoon out.

6. Don’t attempt this candy on any day or year containing the dreaded number ‘1’.

7. Never plan on giving divinity as a Christmas gift. Your pores will excrete nervous gasses. Those gasses react with the candy to turn it a snot green color.

This piece looks surprisingly good.

8. Never…ever…let a wiener dog observe your divinity-making. It is the candy kiss-of-death.

I really wanted my candy to be perfect, but it wasn’t. I was tempted not to give it. Didn’t want my friends to suffer through crunchy divinity.

I put the candy in my pretty Target gift boxes and gave it away anyway. Maybe they will taste the love. Strikes me as a parallel to so many things in my life right now.  I could use a little divine intervention to straighten things out and spruce things up a little bit. Even if I don’t see divine intervention or I don’t feel it, it still seems important to keep striving….to keep giving. I’ll live fully in this current messiness and imperfection and you can meet me there. We’ll have a party!

Maybe that realization is my divine intervention for today.

Carry on. Christmas is coming.

Karo-y love to all.

christmas props

Some of you will remember MY BLOG POST about the Christmas Party at Mom’s retirement home last Christmas. It was my 3rd or 4th year to help lead the festivities for the residents. They are nice to ask and I’m normally happy to do it, but when the invitation came to please do it again this year…I was hesitant.

I didn’t wanna.

How could I go back out there where Mom lived and where we spent so much time?

How could I be a cheery Christmas elf when the very act of being in the retirement home would fill me with sadness?

That’s it….I’d say I couldn’t do it! They would understand my grief. I didn’t want to face the way being there would make me feel. Nope. Nada. No thank you.

But then I heard her voice…..dammit….“Kath….some of those people don’t have anybody. Nobody. It would mean the world to them for you to come lead the party” 

Really, Mom….speaking to me beyond the grave? What’s up with that? O—K, I’ll do it. Now, be quiet!

I stewed. I delayed. I hemmed and hawed. I tried to come to a certain peace about being out there and how all of this was gonna work.

Then….I came up with the perfect solution. The shiniest, most perfectest, most baby Jesus-y Christmas prop EV-ER!! I’m totally, absolutely without shame!

You guessed it precious Chicken Wing reader……Baby G!!

People in retirement/nursing homes rarely get to see a baby.

One of my favorite residents. She’s always beautiful, happy and slightly ornery. Love her!

They NEVER get to see a cute baby wearing reindeer antlers!

The Christmas party for the residents today was a slam dunk. They loved seeing baby G.

Santa made a special appearance

Of course, I closed the party with retirement home bichon FREE-SAY extraordinaire….the fabulous waving Sophie. She wished everyone a Merry Christmas with her furiously waving paws.

Sophie and Santa in 2010

I’d say it went pretty well. It’s a milestone, for sure. Many of the residents spoke to me of their love for my mother, of her fabulous bridge playing and of her black humor. At times, I teared up….but it was OK, cuz usually the friend telling me the story was teary as well. I needed to hear the stories….needed to give and receive lots of hugs.

Overflowing gratitude to the Sprout for going to all the trouble of dressing up a newborn, a bichon and a golden doodle in Christmas outfits for their moment in the sun at the ‘home’ Christmas party. You are an outstanding daughter. Hopefully, you will not hear my voice beyond the grave. Love you, Sprout.

The Texan and I have not lost the necessary skill of eating while a baby sleeps on one shoulder. The Texan said G’s pajamas might contain a stray pinto bean

The Texan says he hopes Baby G doesn’t catch a bad case of the gout from being at the home today.

Hope your Christmas is filled with joy!

Shameless Christmas prop love to all.

christmas marvel

It’s here…ready or not.  No matter in what circumstance you find yourself this Christmas, please know the Creator’s love for you in the birth of His son.  God made flesh….pretty awesome stuff.  No wonder the barnyard animals will speak tonight.  Keep watch.

The promised Marvel of the Night video.  This song captures the lovely mystery.  Take a listen:

Verse 3

The love that we have known, our joy and endless light
Now to the loveless world be shown, now break upon it’s deathly night
Into one song compress the love, that rules our universe above
Sing love, sing love, sing God is love-sing love, sing God is love!

marvel of the night

It’s usually a little thing that makes me a weepy mess at Christmas.  I’ll be going through the seasonal motions, decking this and that, nogging it up with friends and family and the small Christmasy moment will sneak up on me..and…suddenly…..the heavens open up, multitudinous angel choruses sing and I receive the Spirit of Christmas.

Merry Roxy Doxy
One year, I was going about my usual holiday preps with the three young sprouts.  I was sleep-deprived and functioning on a pure daily fudge and egg-nog high.  We hurried to and fro the sprout’s Christmas events:  the school Christmas program, the church musical, the class parties and the caroling forays.  Christmas didn’t hit me that year until my youngest sprout’s piano recital.  Sprout #3 was never much of a piano (or anything else for that matter) practicer, but he had prepared a little ditty for the recital.  Maybe it was the fact I was actually sitting in a cozy chair for first time in weeks, or maybe it was because I adored his saint of a piano teacher, but when his 6-year-old fingers stroked the simple melody of Silent Night…..Christmas came to me.  My heart had suddenly been sprinkled with meat tenderizer and I revelled in the magic of the season.

Being around the horses and our crazy donkey during the holidays held special meaning for me, as well.  Running out to feed the animals on Christmas Eve, I’d tell them of the special role their ancestors played in the birth of Jesus-especially the role of the ass.  Asses are blessed creatures in the Christmas story and on Palm Sunday.  Aren’t we glad the Bible holds a special affinity for asses??  Gives me hope.

This year, the small thing setting my stone-heart to mush is a song.  We practiced it in church choir.  It rattles in my brain like the Salvation Army bell-ringer.  It’s called Before the Marvel of this Night, by Carl Schalk.  I want to share verses of it with you this week as we prepare for Christmas.
Maybe it will be the small thing encouraging your heart to a fuller understanding of Christmas.

Verse 1

Before the marvel of this night, adoring fold your wings and bow
then tear the sky apart with light and with the news the world endow
Proclaim the birth of Christ and peace, that fear and death and sorrow cease
sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace.  Sing peace, sing gift of peace!
Looking up for Christmas
The marvel of the night is coming!  I’ll reveal the rest of the verses as we lead up to Chrismas eve.
Keep looking up.
Angel-wing love to all.

elf actualization

Santa and his perky elf made their yearly appearance at the retirement home Christmas Party.  The big guy doled out exciting door prizes to some lucky residents.
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Joy watches Santa’s helper lead the group in a carol sing-a-long.
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The elf marvelled at how strongly the folks sang when a microphone was suddenly thrust in front of them.
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Lots of huggin’, lovin’, singin’, jingle-bell ringin’ and  general yuletide merriment.
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The fun program was topped off with…..with…..

ta-da………..

The Christmas Dogs!!
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Christmas goldendoodle, Reba, was a little unsure.  In her humble opinion, Santa is loud, wears too much red and talks scary.  She couldn’t warm up to him.  She did wag her curly tail and she eagerly licked most of the residents.  She cheerfully modeled her ‘Merry Christmas’ fleece dog outfit.  She did her puppy best.

But the real star?  The dog who pants and whines to be in the Christmas limelight?  The adorable, waving bichon freee-say…….
Sophie.
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The elf introduced her to the crowd and she proceeded (the dog) to wave her fat little paws off to choruses of  ‘Isn’t that the cutest thing?’ and ‘Awww’ and ‘She looks like snow!’ and other adoring comments.  We wondered as to her motivation for the great performance (she even ‘spoke’ on cue into the microphone!) this year.  The Sprout said Soph had been sitting in the dark, cold car and suddenly she entered a warm gay room with overwhelmingly delicious food odors.  At that moment, she realized she was born for the Christmas spotlight this day and she wasn’t going to let the parade pass her by.  Carpe diem, Soph!

When the program was over, Santa held Sophie and she graciously allowed everyone to stroke her curly, snow-white fur.  As if that performance wasn’t enough to win her the Christmas Oscar for a starring role for a bichon, she eagerly padded down the hall to the assisted living area.  There she greeted residents, while the elf passed out candy canes.  She even made a stop in the break room to greet a group of surprised card players. Her starring role was completed with a visit to the assisted living beauty shop. The elf realized she had been lucky to be in the presence of pure Christmas greatness. 

Thanks for sharing in the Christmas fun.
Here’s hoping you discover what YOU were born for this Christmas.
Special purpose love to all.