Sunday, December 30, 2007


"If you put love where there is none, then love is there." (Spanish mystic, John of the Cross)

Tomorrow is New Year's eve. I think about the year upcoming, and the year finished. About what my life needs, and what the lives around me need.

I think I'll just look for places that need love and put it there. It's the least I can do.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Advent - God's apparent lack of restraint

Christmas day is over but I am in my own Advent. Experiencing God's apparent lack of restaint in loving. In loving me.

If you know me you know that I am notorious for not paying attention to dates and times ... I remember moments, experiences, feelings, people. But I might not remember them when they actually happened. I might send you a Birthday Present a month early. Or a week late.

But today I have been trying to get the date into my mind: Dec 28 2007. It is a peak day. Untainted joy. Dec 28. I have written it down three places. I have said it out loud. I hope when I am 99 years old I will say, on Dec 28, "This is my favorite day of the year."

"Advent happens in time, the story of love between God and man. There is a time when it begins, and therefore there is a time before it begins, when it is coming but not yet here, and this is the time Mary was in when Gabriel came to her. It is Advent: the time just before the adventure begins, when everybody is leaning forward to hear what will happen even though they already know what will happen and what will not happen, when they listen hard for meaning, their meaning, and begin to hear, only faintly at first, the beating of unseen wings." Frederick Beuchner, "The Magnificent Defeat."

Winston Churchill said, at the end of the war, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. It is only the end of the beginning." So it is.

Monday, December 17, 2007

holly jolly

It's been a fun week. I have completely taken over the girl's lives and mothered them and it has been a ton of fun. We have hollied and jollied. I got my best compliment this morning when I was dropping them off at school.

I pulled up and a nice kid (probably grade six) opened the door for them. I smiled at him and said, "Have a holly jolly Christmas!" and I heard Meg say, "That's my gramma." And the kid smiled at me and said to her, "You have a real nice gramma!"

So there it is folks. I have parented for one week and gotten an A+ from the fans. Of course, if I were to keep going that rating would have to drop when I limited the amount of peanut MnM's, and made the girls go to bed on time. But I takes what I gets... and it has been tons o fun.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I once heard about a woman who dressed in a large body suit to see what it was like to be a big person in our thin-obsessed culture. She found the experience dramatic.

Yesterday I took The Girls to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. (I think I deserve some kind of large Mimi-Scout badge.) Anyway, I took my glasses off during the movie and stuck them in my sweater. The girls lounged all over me and then when we left they were jumping and pulling on me. When we got to the car I realized my glasses were gone.


Not only is that $400 down the drain (for tri-focals) but I was inaugerated into the world of those who have little sight. I can see enough not to drive into the car in front of me, but when I got home I had to have Kyra read me recipes, find me measuring cups, read me the back of boxes. I felt so crippled.

I wasn't ill -sighted long enough to develop my other senses - smile. But I did gain a respect for those who don't have all the tools of living I take for granted.

The glasses were turned in at the theatre. So my experience was brief. Let me tell you though, I have gratitude and joy about my plastic optical augmentation that I have never had before. There is something wonderful in all the ordinary things we don't even notice. Joyeaux Noel!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cookie of the Day

Today's cookies have a certain flare - here's the recipe. Bake a cake - I chose white with cherry dots in it. Dump the cooled cake into a big bowl. Dump one whole can of icing into the bowl with it and mix thoroughly. That is Meg's job. Then roll dough into balls.

Enter Kyra. Melt the Toblerone bar (huge one) and dip balls into chocolate. Cool. Eat.

The added cherry on top is the Christmas breast effect so I am not sure we will do that to finish them off.

Last night we were having supper and Megan had to remain at the table for ten more spoons of cauliflower soup. She screwed up her face and cursed the American Food Triangle! It was the most damage she could deliver. I guess her after school snacks of watermelon, peanut MnM's, Cadbury Christmas mini eggs and wads of cookie clump put her off her dinner. Go figure.

Hey, this Mimi stuff is all right!

on "Seeming"

You seem better this time, he said
I eat too fast and watch him
his perpetual smile and contrived optimism
My seeming is a relief to him
a quart of energy drains from my soul
I smile and say, Yes. I am fine.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cookies that look a mess

I can't believe it is already December 13th. We are into the "Second day of Mimi" ... (think: 12 days of Christmas) ... and tonight's Christmas activity involved melting caramel chips and mixing them into chinese noodles and then watching Elf while munching on peanut M'nM's.

This is Klassy Christmas for sure. I do have a problem with the cookie effort though. Two bags of caramel chips, two bags of chinese noodles, and one bowl of cookies turned out splendid and one didn't at all. The caramel chips clumped instead of melting, they did not cling to the noodles and eventually we added some marshmellows - to no avail - and dumped clumps of the mess into baggies for future munching. We called them cookies and clumps.

This being festive is hard work. I do believe tomorrow's plan is a cookie that is dipped in chocolate with a cherry stuck on top. Think mammaries and you will get the idea.

When I look at the perfect Kroger cookies and packages on Southern Season shelves I momentarily wonder why I am making these piduts (that is spelled backward for the children) cookies anyway. But The Girls seem to think we have made something quite beautiful. I will stay with that opinion.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Celebrating Benjamin

Well, our kid Benjamin just passed his PhD in Philosophy of Science at Aberdeen University in Scotland. It was a long haul and he worked ferociously on it - and deserves every bit of his accomplishment.

Can I just say I have fabulous kids? All four of them - they are smart, big hearted, outrageous, and courageous.

This is now my new favorite day of the year. What day is it? Oh - December 6th. I am going to celebrate every December 6th (if I remember) from now on!

My family has had a year stuffed with amazing and wonderful things. Today was a banner day in an incredible year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm not blue ... and it's Christmas

Today my responsibility at the seminary was to speak at our Blue Christmas service. The service is designed for people who are finding Christmas a hard thing to face ... like Megan whose little sister died suddenly three weeks ago, and Phil whose son is a marine, just deployed to Iraq.

As I was thinking of what to say I thought that there are really two Christmases that run on top of each other throughout December. They are so closely meshed they seem to be one, but are complete opposites really.

The first is the magic Christmas, land of jolly old St. Nicholas, mommy kissing Santa Claus, bells of St. Ives and Perry Como and too much figgy pudding. It is this first Christmas celebration that makes people feel desolate. Ironically.

The second Christmas is mystery, not magic, an ancient celebration of the Christ mass - the story that God came down precisely because this is a wounding world, and He has chosen to enter my own personal drama, and yours, to (and I use scriptural allusions here) unlock personal prison doors, make rough pathways smooth, bring to nothing daunting obstacles, support the smallest of dreams and hopes, etc.

In this way of thinking the opposite of Christmas as most of us celebrate it is not the Grinch, or Scrooge. The Grinch and Scrooge are part of Christmas common, a necessary foil. The true opposite of Christmas common is the Christmas celebration sacred.

Think of it like this: there is no human on earth who does not have seasons of sorrow, grief or fear. When those seasons perchance collide with the Christmas season common, sadness and loneliness intensify. What masquarades as the joyful season is really quite hollow when the mandatory pieces (read: tree, loved ones, chestnuts roasting on the open fire, etc) are not available.

But the mystery of Christmas sacred is that it is a space in time where sorrow is lifted, lonely drudgery becomes dance and doors are thrown open for trapped lives. Christmas in this sense should be the place we want to be when our life is heavy and our emotions are ruined. It may look duller on the outside, but it is solid through and through.

I lost heart for Christmas common a long time ago. Maybe I am the Grinch my kids and staff say I am - I can live with that. But there is a celebration I am a part of. It is why I still make cookies iced in red and green, and stuff stockings for The Girls. It looks like Christmas common. But don't be fooled.