Same job, different uniform.

Friday, December 26, 2008

On Boxing Day

This has been the most unusual Christmas. I take that back--spending Christmas in the hospital with my dad after one of his famous kidney stone ordeals was probably the most unusual. This is a close second.

We're in Rochester, Minnesota with my husband's family. One sister is in Washington with her husband's family. One sister is in Austin where my mom generously decided to stay. And my brother is in New Mexico with my sister-in-law's family.

For the first time in over 15 years I didn't spend Christmas Eve at my grandparent's house.

The benefit of having an unusual Christmas is observing your expectations shift. When you're entering into someone else's traditions, someone else's schedule, you find yourself more of a spectator. There is not the need to try to control outcomes or manage temperaments. Christmas is happening to you.

We haven't opened presents yet, and so there is that anticipation as well.

As for recalling Christ's birth, Christmas couldn't have come at a better time for me. You're familiar with those wandering doubts about God's goodness? The fall of man? God's plan for mankind?

Somehow Jesus still makes it all better. If He hadn't come, Christianity would look like every other world religion: separated from an angry or elderly/benevolent God (take your pick), awash in works-righteousness and without a remedy.

But He did come. He did come. He did. I keep butting up against that shocking reality. The Creator becoming one of his own creation to rescue it from the problem it created. Even if I don't like it, even if I don't understand it, He did it.

No wonder the angels said their tidings were of great joy.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Basking in Lemony Goodness

What do you get when you combine a master baker for a sister-in-law, fresh lemons, and the holidays?

A package of the world's best lemon bars and a loaf of Amish Lemon Bread.

Mama mia!

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I would give my left eyeball...

...if I could only sit on my couch with a cup of hot cider, a MN monthly magazine, classical music and a crackling fire in the background.
Instead......making dinner, cleaning up dinner, bathing children, putting children to bed, folding clothes, school work, shopping online for christmas gifts or making a batch of cookies, pack lunches for tomorrow, fold more clothes.

"You make choices.....and you live with 'em." - Bill Murray, Groundhog's Day

The operative choice here, being children. God love 'em, but they certainly cramp the leisure time situation.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Why Immigrants Still Come to This Country

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend, Melanie Kirkpatrick wrote of the Newcomers High School located in Queens, NY where the 850 students who attend come from 60 countries around the world and speak 40+ languages.

A couple weeks ago, as Thanksgiving approached they had a discussion in the classroom about those first immigrants - the Pilgrams. (This part of the class, taught by U.S. History teacher Tim Becker, is something he adds on his own because teaching Thanksgivng is not part of New York's state-mandated curriculum.) Many of the students easily identified with the Pilgrims, stating that when they first arrived they faced difficulities, they felt alone, that their parents came to get a better life for their families.

However, my favorite comment in this discussion came from a Bangladeshi boy who referred to the Declaration of Independence when he said that his family came here for the purpose of "pursuiting the happiness."

It was a beautiful, but for many natural born Americans, a seemingly forgotten summation of what the United States has to offer to the world. There's no guarantee of health, wealth, healthcare, or even home ownership, but by God and grace you sure can strive for all those things. Statements like that above remind me that for a huge number of people around the world, it is enough to scrape, claw, dig, sail, swim, and risk death to come to the United States of America for nothing more than the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

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