Thursday, December 31, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My daughter sent this to me via email this morning. It made me smile, so I figured I'd share...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Turning off the dumb Wii...

I have kids on vacation who have no schoolwork to do and have already completed their "life grids" for today. Does this mean they're curled up reading a book? Listening to Christmas carols? Walking their new dog? Baking Christmas cookies? Playing a board game?

Nope... they're playing on the Wii the dumbest game I've ever seen.

"Well, at least they're spending some time together," you might suggest. Nope again, unless you count fighting as time spent together. It is a one-person game they're playing, and the best you can do is sit around and watch, bossing your sibling around while she tries to take her turn.

I think the ol' Grandpa had the right idea!

Christmas Eve, Unplugged

'Twas the night before Christmas and out on the ranch
The pond was froze over and so was the branch.
The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school.
And happier young folks you never did see
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV .
Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed
With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."

"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."
The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle and started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.
Mom started to sing, and first thing they knew
Both Pop and the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.
They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight - and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.
Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on.
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - and no one suspected his trick.
Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So close, and yet so far

Okay, so here's the truth: Winston is a sweetie. He is much more calm than we originally thought, now that he's away from the environment of the SPCA. He is already learning to heel when we take him and Pippin for a walk. He sleeps great in his crate, and he holds his urine all night and does a huge morning pee when we first get him up. He goes potty in his potty spot every single time we take him out there. He seems very happy to be here, and very eager to please.

And yet I have to keep one eye on him (literally) at ALL times. Does he chew on inappropriate things in my house? No. Do I fear he might attack one of the children or Pippin, the other dog? No. Does he just flagrantly pee or poop in my house? Growl or snap at us? Bark all day long? Make a mad dash up the stairs? Runaway and make us chase him? No, no, no, no, and no.

So, what's the problem?

Christmas trees. Ever notice that your Christmas tree is a large outdoor tree, brought indoors and set up in your living room? Ever thought about the fact that it looks just like the tree the dog pees on in your backyard?

Ditto houseplants.

Technically, peeing on them is really, really close to right. So close, and yet so far...

For this I gave up holiday baking and addressing Christmas cards before Christmas??! Well, I don't really need the extra calories... my neighbors have made it lots of years now without homemade Christmas treats... and I've not been on time with a Christmas card, ever.

But isn't this just worth it??!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Welcoming Winston

I've been meaning to write a post called "Awaiting Winston" for several days now; he was supposed to come home last Thursday but was unable to. He had kennel cough, which disallowed his intubation, which prevented his neutering surgery, which delayed his homecoming.

We were ready for him, yet he couldn't come. We had prepared a place for him... a crate... bowls... food... a collar... tags with his new name and contact information for our home. It sounds silly to make much of it, as if it is some profound thing, but it has been a profoundly moving experience for me, preparing for this dog. Moreso than when we adopted Pippin into our home - we found Pip and brought him home the same day, getting all the "stuff" we needed for him after the fact - this experience of preparing for this dog ahead of time has reminded me in some small way of my adoption as a child of God.

The Lord has set His love upon me, based on no actual merits of my own. He knows my sinful nature, my tendency toward selfishness and wrongdoing and sin, and yet He has chosen me for His family... welcomed me to join His Kingdom work despite His full knowledge of how much I'll fail... of what a pain I'll continue to be, despite my best efforts...

Very few ever love with even a shadow of that grace, that mercy, that forbearance and acceptance and tenacity. It is agape love... God-love...

Don't get me wrong. I do not mean to suggest that I have this sort of love for my new dog. But preparing for his arrival into my home has reminded me, ever so slightly, of how God chooses to call me His own, despite His certain knowledge of my impending and continual failure. This dog is not at all like any dog we've ever owned before. Interestingly, it is the first dog we've ever considered adopting which iivo has appreciated from the get-go... and the first one I've ever not liked from the start. This must be a "man's dog," of sorts.

But I'm very aware of his faults and flaws. He sheds terribly. He's big and a little wild. He has a destructively waggy tail. He has oozing wounds on his ears. He is a jumper. He is not housebroken. All in all, he has little to commend him to the potential adopter. And yet we have chosen him. We have received him, set our love on him, agreed to "instruct him and teach him in the way he should go," and committed to call him our own even when he fails to do so.

And so, I present to you Winston, the newest canine member of our family. (He's pretty dopey in this video, taken just hours after his surgery.)

video

Monday, December 7, 2009

Standing Up Whoville

Okay, call it silly, but we have a new holiday tradition in our home, thanks to my middle daughter, OG. Last night, while she was Christmas shopping for her siblings, she found this Cozy Cracklin' Fireplace CD at Rite Aid for $4. She immediately announced that her older sister, EV, would love it and that we needed to get it for her.

(Previously, EV had bought me a "crackling candle" that had a wooden wick and would supposedly make fire-popping sounds when lit, but much to her disappointment, it did no such thing. She had known I missed the sounds of a real fire burning when we got our gas logs.)

I had successfully avoided buying a more expensive version of a similar CD just an hour earlier at Borders (a previous stop in our shopping date), and for $4 I figured it was worth a gamble.

Well, anyway, we love it! We put it in the DVD player when we got home, turned on the gas logs, set it to play the Christmas songs (lovely instrumentals with Classical guitar and piano), and all sat back to watch the screen play the lovely fire... for all 66 minutes of running time!!

This is remarkable in that we had been planning to curl up last night as a family with a bowl of popcorn and the How the Grinch Stole Christmas DVD, but none of us (from the 9-year-old to the 42-year-olds) could bring ourselves to turn off the peaceful, quiet, relaxing environment of this lovely crackling fire and beautiful Christmas music.

iivo quietly turned to me where we were snuggling on the couch and asked, "How did you know I needed this? I didn't even know I needed this."

So, slow down in the midst of the Christmas frenzy and give yourself a beautiful treat this year, for $4 at RiteAid. It is worth more than every penny!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Worldview Resource Directory

Today I came across an unbelievable resource called the Worldview Resource Directory.

A compilation of hundreds of useful resources on a wide variety of social and theological topics, it is easily perused for suggested reading on just about any subject.