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"Other Colors"
by Orhan Pamuk

"Eat, Pray, Love"
by Elizabeth Gilbert

December 9, 2008

December Thoughts

I woke very early this morning and after lying awake for an hour got up and crept out to the kitchen. Last night I read an account that Maria Von Trapp had written about preparation for Christmas and was inspired to think about preparing for Christmas myself. I am still a little sad about the book, “Once Upon A Christmas Time” that disappeared after I loaned it to a friend. It was a little cool so I lit a small fire in the kitchen fireplace. I settled myself the little rocker next to the fire as I read and prayed and thought about the family and the day that lies ahead of me. The little rocker was made by Mmmm’s grandfather. I like to think about the continuity of the family and the connections we have with one another.

Then I did my Anti-Alzheimer’s things – the Sudoku and the crossword puzzle - made a list of cookies to make to send to Kay, thought about the shopping I need to do and puttered until our radio preacher came on at 8 AM. He is doing a series on the Ten Commandments and the message today was especially appropriate at this time of year – Thou Shalt Not Covet. I thought of my nephew, Mark, and his wife, who have 10 children. He was a youth pastor – not a terribly well paid job – and has been out of work for a couple of years. Stephanie, his great wife told me:

Everyone draws a name, and has a year to make a handmade gift, sometimes it is wonderful, like a leather bag, a crocheted scarf and mittens, mosaic topped jewelry box, sock monkey, portrait painted. The hardest part for me is trying to help Maddy (their 10 year old who has CP) make something without it just being me that makes it, sometimes I just fail all together, like last year when it totally slipped my mind that Maddy was supposed to make a gift for Chase. But this year Maddy says he is already making one for his name draw, at school with the help of his occupational therapist! I really love the idea and the kids even though they sometimes complain about not knowing what to do, as soon as Christmas is over start bugging me about drawing for the next year. >>

I have to say something about Stephanie. Every time her name comes up, Carol talks about what a great cook she is. And she is. When we were all in Montana either for Eunice’s birthday last year or for her home-going celebration in March, Heidi brought over some soup. Steph said that we needed a filler and suddenly there was dough rising on the counter under a clean towel. Soon there were hot, fresh rolls on the table. I want to be like Steph when I grow up. She is so effortless about what she does.

And so it is time – time to prepare for Christmas: to put up the counted cross stitch angels, and picture of the nativity that I made as well as the nativity scene itself. I always smile as I take out the figures and see where inquisitive little fingers investigated to find out exactly what was inside the paper mache shepherd, or Joseph or Wise Man. I put the door knob cover on the closet door. I admire the beautiful crystal ornament that Gary brought me. I think about the Christmases past but not with the regret that Scrooge did but with thanksgiving for a wealth of Christmas memories.

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