Friday, December 21, 2007

Ding Dong Merrily on high!

Ding dong, that's the sound of my brain's insides rattling...Are you in the same boat or is it just me?

This photo is from last year when C's song was "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth". "Santa" is HO HO WHO?

Soon we'll be leaving for a week or so in Florida to visit S's folk. The temp's forecast seems to be upper 70's down there - a nice, warm, pleasant break. Wish it were just SLIGHTLY colder here now, then we'd have some snow. We've been having low clouds with some light precip and cold weather but it's just not quite cold enough for that white stuff.

We finished up with school on Wednesday and C's been enjoying the total break from schoolwork. I managed to get in some Xmas shopping on Monday and Thursday mornings while S worked from home and kept C occupied. It was quite the zoo in town, especially on Thursday. Here in the States though, it's not the same zoo as in South Africa where we all used to wait until the very last week to do all the shopping - let me tell you, THAT is a zoo of momentous proportions - one you all need to experience ha ha!! Actually quite fun, in it's own crazy way.

Well, here is my philosophy of Xmas. I don't even want to say Christmas because to me it seems sacriligious. The whole holiday is mostly just a commercially driven enterprise. To really celebrate Christmas we should all be giving necessary items to the poor and needy and not even buying "gifts" for everyone we know (who don't need anything). OK, call me a grinch but there IS no "reason for the season". You can't MAKE it all about Christ coming as a babe AND do all the gifting to ourselves - the two don't go together. Have ONE OR THE OTHER. So I say, let's have a winter solstice or whatever "festival", and then celebrate Christ's birth in the fall or late summer (more realistic - shepherds outside watching sheep? - NOT winter!)and use that time to help our less fortunate 'brothers and sisters'. A festival of sacrificial giving to those who really need it - following the example of Christ who lived a life of complete humility and self-sacrifice. Tell me now - those still "listening" - how big would the celebration of Christ's birth be THEN? Probably as big as Yom Kippur! As Christ Himself said "You cannot serve both God and mammon" (money). You know what? I'm just as truly talking to my own materialistic self here! This is MY sermon for the day!

Anyway, after all that ranting, I do believe a LOT of good and benevolence is done in the name of Christmas and that this cold winter time is the time to do it. The fact is, without Christ coming into this world in the first place, we'd be doomed. Christ being born was a GOOD thing - "Christmas" is not! (Just my HUMBLE opinion!:-))

The winter festival can be the one where we do good deeds for the needy - even just spending time with a lonely elderly person. The festival needs to be at least a month long (I know longer wouldn't work!). Now for those in the Southern Hemispere - hmmm - I'll have to ponder a while on that one!...Uh, - A winter festival in July or August? :-)

It's hard to stop when it's ranting time....I could say more but will spare you the pain. It's very hard to argue with the bottom line - $$.

May you all have a blessed and happy Xmas - with folk who enjoy your company, ha ha.
Have a quiet and blessed Sabbath too - a rest from all the madness! What a blessing it is.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Real Orchestra!

The title of this blog explains the excitement of C to be playing in a real orchestra for a performance tomorrow.
The youngest
On Thursday I videotaped the rehearsal and today we used it to practice along where some of the entrances were more difficult. Tomorrow you locals will get to hear the 2 performances during the church services.

We also had B with us the whole week. We spent quite a bit of time in the car running errands but last night we went Christmas light hunting. We found a house in Homewood that had lights synchronized to music. The owner was there and told us next year he was going to have "twice as many". That will be a sight to behold.

We had a real "hot" front come by this week - with some rain and
muggy, warm temps in the mid to high 70's at times! I think Wednesday or Thursday hit a record high! That must mean you in the Southern Hemisphere are hitting record lows, right?

Here's C doing a handstand at the local airport....Uh...Obviously not a busy day there...!
(Later:  Sorry, I had to obviously substitute another photo as I can't find the handstand one!  Good grief!  What did we DO with all the photos??)

This will have to be a "foot stand" rather than a "handstand".
Ah!  I found the real handstand!

Enjoying the airport

Green eyes, blue eyes
Pink eyes... no wait.

Caridee has found a friend, or a friend found her. The "boyfriend" lives kitty- corner down the street and must be about the same age, and definitely of similar temperament. They both pester the other to no end, playing together for hours. It's so cute to see Caridee being protective of both the cat and C - herding the other dog away when he gets too close. So sweet!

We're expecting Raewyn, Deirdre and 2 other friends to spend the night tonight on their way down to the "Cruise with a Mission" trip which leaves Tampa either tomorrow night or Sunday. They, together with a bunch of other young people will be doing some mission work in the Caribbean somewhere, stopping off at several places during the cruise. We wish them "bon voyage" on their adventure.

Am having some bad luck getting our Xmas photos done. Went today to pick them up and the thumbnails had been printed (I must have picked the wrong ones)so they were all blurry. Didn't have the Disc with me to order more so will have to go back Sunday. Maybe I'll have to do the "hour" thing so you all will get your Xmas cards before Xmas!! I AM trying, folks!

May you all have a blessed Sabbath and week ahead.

Friday, December 7, 2007

December Doings

This week we finished up Gymkids and Adventurers for the semester and things are also winding down in the academics while things 'heat' up elsewhere. Next week we'll be done with our History class and probably the Keepers club. That means we won't be running around quite as much which is nice for this taxi driver.
We'll be
keeping B with us next week. She is always such a pleasure. And, hopefully we'll have more time to visit J who is almost 34 weeks pregnant but not expected to carry to term...

Read an inspiring guest editorial of our local conference magazine, Tidings. Dr Ron Smith titled his editorial: Nourishment for the Holiday Season. Here is a quote or two from his article:

...Through daily prayer, study of the Word, and Christian fellowship, God seems to lift the burdens of everyday life and provide strength for the inevitable pull and tug of living. Prayer is a tremendous resource at the disposal of the spiritually malnourished. Through prayer, we can incorporate supernatural strength. Through prayer, we can call upon supernatural powers to resuscitate us from our malnourished states. Prayer is more than positive thinking; it is more than the power of suggestion; and it is more than magical thinking, which some psychiatrists would call it. It is calling upon the power of God Himself who is available to His children.

Then he refers to the "Word of God as a resource to battle one's spiritually malnourished state":

The Word of God has tremendous power - power for many things, including overcoming anxiety and a depressed self-image....Nothing can help more in overcoming life's problems than spending hours and hours meditating on the Word of God.

Next he comments on the benefits of fellowshipping with the body of Christ as a whole.

There is real protection among and within the body of Christ. If we are with a group of believers who love the Lord and enjoy life, their happiness rubs off on us. We find ourselves being less self-centered and less absorbed in our own problems. Our spiritual nourishment receives dynamic enhancement.

As we go forth to the 'world' then, how much more effective we can be in spreading God's message - as healthy and nourished believers! All that we need in this life is right here before us, at our ready disposal. We don't NEED to experience any kind of anxiety at all.

Tomorrow, to change the subject, C is going to be part of a Sabbath School programme for a senior group - reading a couple poems, playing the cello and singing. There are several other "primaries" also doing various items and singing in a little "choir". C is psyched but understandably a little nervous.

We've started an "activity calendar" leading up to the end of December as usual. Each evening C opens a card door to see what we'll do the next day. That also gives Mom a chance to be a little prepared herself!

Last Sunday we went to the local Christmas parade. This year they threw out oodles of candy....I think the local Dentists will do a bustling trade in the coming year. I wonder how much they paid the organizers, ha ha! In the parade was also our local Ooltewah High
School marching band which had the honor of being in the Macy's Day parade this Thanksgiving! They looked very smart and dapper in their uniforms and make our fair city proud!

So, December marches on. The Lord's Coming is also marching closer. How many of us are living every day like we REALLY believe His coming is SOON? Think about it!