Friday, December 31, 2010

Ain't Love Grand?

(This is not a sign for her but I thought it hilarious and me being the Queen...........)
I found out that my college girlfriend is getting married when we spoke this morning for our annual "are you still alive" phone call.  Oh, the seasons of our lives...
She recounted to me "The Proposal".
He got down on his new knee and she thought he was having a heart attack.  She said "Yes".
He told her he had been trying to ask her for weeks as they walked out of church so everyone could be a part of the excitement but she was always bossing him on to the cafeteria or whatever the next place was on their schedule. 
OK so we're not 18 anymore but we both agreed it is good to have a friend on the journey.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"I Was A Stranger and You Took Me In...." Jesus

I have loved Christians' impromptu concerts  all over the world singing the "Hallelujah Chorus". 
That created some good will that got positive attention.   The word Gospel means "Good News" not Fox News. 
So I have been wondering what other initiatives could display Guerrilla Love-Fare in the name of Christianity?

How's this?
All over the country travelers are stranded in airports due to the weather.
Soldiers, mothers with babies or small children, elderly people or people just like you and me.
Exhausted, dirty and cut off from their normal contacts.

What would happen if each Christian family in those cities went to the airport and chose just one person (or family) and took them home for a good night's stay and a shower? 
There would be no reason to blah, blah, blah about our faith.  Those strangers would be so grateful for our counter-culture gesture that they would just know.
A couple of years ago I brought home from the airport  a German woman who was stranded due to a USAir computer malfunction. 
It had been three days since she had left Hamburg and she was spent. 
Maria was with us for several days and we loved making a new friend from a far away place.  It made the world seem smaller, friendlier and cost us nothing.
Sunday morning she asked if she could join us for church --  even though she was an agnostic.  She liked the service with it's lively music and thoughtful message but confessed to loving the Krispy Kream donuts served between services.
If it is true that "life is what happens when you are making other plans"  why not make a life?

Monday, December 27, 2010

That includes dusty fake greenery, dead live greenery, Christmas tree with lights burned out in the top third of the tree, traditional holiday books that just look annoying now, the wreath on the front door that goes thump each time we enter, and that extra weight (no way I'm getting on the scale to see that damage) from all of that booty dropped off by friends.
Don't call -- don't write -- just pick up a shovel and come over to help.

Friday, December 24, 2010

 Come on in....
The table is set.
It's the best birthday party of the year!
Even the ducks are decked out.
The view is fine

Look who made a stop on their way to the live Nativity.

And there are carriage rides for neighbors to see the Christmas lights tonight.

Culinary experiments abound.  This is an idea I found on  A pumpkin pie baked into a spice cake.  Caramel frosting is in the works.
My favorite gifts this year.  Every time we move I ask God to give me one crazy friend.  Someone who is as off the wall and up to no-good as I am. 
God is faithful.  He gave me my girlfriend Linda Stowell who makes me giggle until the tears run down my legs.
She gifted me this year with:
"Season's Greetings" toilet paper.  This will never be used and will become our version of a South Philly couch wrapped in plastic for all eternity.  But wait there's more....

Linda purchased a ton of these for all of the employees at their company.  Her best guess is the Chinese artist was great at painting.  Not so much at spelling.
"Christmas hugs (ylugs)" to you too from the Honeycutts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Too Much

Have you ever received a present that was so sacrificial and unexpected that your arms automatically wanted to stretch out and hand it back but your heart pulled it right in?
I have.
I was in a "Book Study" group for many years that read and discussed Christian authors . We were a motley crew that only the Lord could have put and kept together.
Fashion model, single mother, grandmother and career girls were we but the lofty ideas and deep truths of the books we read kept us together.
One Christmas out of deference to some of our poorer members we decided to exchange gifts of something we already owned but loved.  An exercise that was personally  as opposed to financially expensive.
One of the women in the group was uhh, how can I say this -- rowdy.  She  answered the questions posed with contentious or outrageous answers.  Personally I labeled her at least a rebel or at best just a little off. Not like the rest of us, pious and well informed.
Wouldn't you know she drew my name for the gift exchange?  Dang. 
There were women in there that had some really fine stuff and now it was not going to end up in my closet.
The Wednesday night before Christmas found us gathered around a grand fireplace inside Faye Napier's house.  Faye does Christmas like Faberge does eggs.  If she ever includes you in her invitation list GO.
It came time to open my gift and my heart sank when I read who it was from.  Being the Queen of Fake, I opened it up with plenty of drama and flare.
What I found was a sweater.  Not just any sweater but the most beautiful sweater I had or to this day ever seen.
This said sweater had been worn to a retreat several months before by the owner and we  all had a fit over it.  She had explained that it was hand knit, fine white mohair and she had proudly worn it since high school.  She looked like an angel in it.
All of my fake fell to the ground and all I could do was just sit there and cry.
How dare her teach me a lesson about the spirit of Christmas?  Me with the clever and correct answers?
It broke my heart -- open.
I hope that happens to all of us again this Christmas.

Andrew Peterson - Labor of Love

I saw this on and loved it. Let the words and sentiment soak into your heart. It's a long way from this to the Neiman Markus catalogue.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New York Christmas - the Last Day

Monday morning dawned bright, sunny and cold.  I put on everything in my suitcase and hit the streets with my final to-do list. 

 A ceramic tile from a subway station.  NYC has taken a lesson from Paris and put beautiful artwork under security glass in the train stations.  Adds a whole new meaning to "Getting there is half the fun."
 Bryant Park is right outside the library.  Tent-shops and an ice skating rink are set up for the month of December. At the food tents I bought a ham and cheese crepe and a peanut butter cookie to die for.  The cookie was two thin crispy cookies with organic peanut butter spread in the middle.
 Of course the Kate Spade tent was so Kate!
 Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the great American novel is being written inside here!
 Just a stairwell ceiling in the library.
 This is a display of Christmas cards from the fifties.  It brought back visions of our kidney shaped coffee tables made out of blond wood Formica.  Did you have one too?
 OK - If you have the book with the right side of the "O" please return it.

 Rockefeller Center.  He asked where I'd been and I replied; "You know I couldn't miss seeing you!"

 French chocolates.  Going rate?  $84.00 per pound.  Your box is in the mail.  Be patient.
 Henry Bendel has the most breathtaking displays.......

 This clam shell opened and closed to reveal a thing of beauty.
Imagine this scene -- you are walking down the sidewalk with George Clooney and he tells you he is finally over being a bachelor.  You stop and as he goes down on one knee the clam shell opens to him saying; "If you marry me it's yours"!
Frankly, I think I could handle the whole hairnet thing.

 This whole window was shells and pearls.

(Bergdorf Goodman)
And then it was time to fly away, fly away, flyaway home

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sun-less Sunday in NYC

It was a drizzly morning but we were not dissuaded.

If it is Sunday and I'm in New York you can count on me being at Times Square Church.  It's like the United Nations but with better speakers and a good beat.
We sat next to a teacher from the  Styvansant neighborhood and it was evident in talking to him  that he is top notch and dedicated to his calling.
The choir -- thrilling.
The sermon -- challenging.
If you aren't there forty five minutes early you won't have a seat in the sanctuary.  Oh, that more churches had this problem. They have rooms with simulcast that seat hundreds.

We moved our bottoms from the seats at TSC to the Imperial Theater to see "Billy Elliot."  It was good and had a story with reconciliation and redemption at the close.  Sort of "Foot Loose" with British accents.  A very pleasant way to spend a blustery day indeed.
Of course we had to take the path that led us through Juniors Cheesecake.

"I'll have what she's having!"
We caught the train back home and that night I got to meet my son for dinner.  Dinner at Uncle Jack's was just OK but the company was out of this world.
Good night -- Big Apple.