"Babysitting to me means reading the paper while the kids mess up the house. Only that day I wasn't reading. I was fuming. On every page of the paper gifts glittered and reindeer pranced and I was told there were three days left in which to buy things I couldn't afford and nobody needed.
"What" I asked myself did the glitter and the rush have to do with the birth of Christ?
"Daddy, we have a play to put on. Do you want to see it?
"I didn't. But I had fatherly responsibilities so I entered the living room. Right away I knew it was a Christmas play when I saw a lighted flashlight wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a shoe box .
"Rex (age 6) came in wearing my bathrobe and carrying a mop handle. He sat on a stool, looking at the flashlight.
"Nancy (age 10) draped a sheet over her head, stood behind Rex and stated 'I'm Mary and this boy is Joseph. Usually Joseph stands up and Mary sits down. But Mary sitting down is taller than Joseph standing up so we thought it looked better this way.'
"In came Trudy (age 4) at a full run. She has never learned to walk. There were pillow cases over her arms. She spread them wide and said only 'I'm an angel'.
"Then came Anne (age 8). I knew she represented a wise man. (She moved like she was riding a camel-she had on her mother's high heels.) She had on all the jewelry available and carried three items on a pillow, undoubtedly--gold, frankincense and myrrh.
"She undulated across the room, bowed to the flashlight, to Mary, to Joseph, to the angel and to me and announced: 'I am all three wise men. I bring precious gifts--gold, circumstance and mud.'
"That was all. The play was over. I didn't laugh. I prayed.
"How near the truth Anne was! We come at Christmas burdened down with gold--with the showy gift and the tinsely tree. Under the circumstances we can do no other, circumstances of our time and place and custom. And it seems a bit like 'mud' when we think of it.
"But I looked at the shinning faces of my children, as their audience of one applauded them, and remembered that a Child showed us how these things can be transformed.
"I remembered that this Child came into a material world and in doing so eternally blessed the material.
"He accepted the circumstances, imperfect and frustrating, into which He was born, and thereby infused them with the divine.
"And as for 'mud'--to you and me it may be something to sweep off the rug, but to all children it is something to build with.
"Children see so surely through the tinsel and the habit and the earthly, to the love which, in them all, strains for expression."
It seems applicable even now and so I felt to share it --Enjoy!
Forty Percent Off Christmas
by Tom Miller
40 % OFF CHRISTMAS the sign said. I paused for a moment. It caught me by surprise. 40% off Christmas?It caught her by surprise too,I think,when I stopped to ask,"Which 40% of Christmas are you taking off?"
Of course, it was an after Christmas sale.There was 40% off Christmas decorations, and the like. But the sign just said,"40% off Christmas." I never got around to telling her, but I kind of liked the sign.
You see, I'd like to take about 40% off Christmas too. Not in an after Christmas sale, mind you. But in the before Christmas time--
What if we'd take about 40% off the time that we have to endure the pre-Christmas, ads, sales, and marketing campaign? Maybe we could enjoy the season a bit more, and not be so fed up with it all by mid-December.
What if we'd diminish our expectations of what makes a "Merry Christmas" by about 40%? Maybe we could not be so depressed when it is all over. Or maybe, just maybe, we could relate a bit better to those for whom Christmas isn't very "merry" at all--the grieving, the sick, those who are alone, the poor.
Or what if, we'd spend about 40% less on gifts, parties, clothes, and dinners? Maybe we would still give, enjoy, and share in ways that brought true glory to the God who gave the first gift--the gift of Jesus Christ.
Maybe we ought to take off about 40% of the things we do, the lights we put up, the pageants we go to, the time we run to shop for that one last gift. Such a discount might make way for us to give more time for focus on what really matters in Christmas. I, for one, happen to think that Christmas has gotten way out of hand. Too much, too early for way too long. Time, money, energy, and all the rest.
I, for one, happen to think that a 40% discount isn't a bad idea at all. Stripping away 40% would leave 60%.
40% off Christmas leaves CHRIST--And that's what this Day, (not the 2 months before) are all about anyway--The Christ,God's gift of salvation. It's about how God first gave, so we could serve God, and bring glory to our Creator, by giving for each other.
So, let's do it!! 40% off Christmas. Then CHRIST will be left and we can celebrate the real reason for the season.
by Tom O. Miller
Bloomfield, NE December 28, 1999
Virginia Turkey Bowl
Players include Bryan, Reed, Kyle, Roc, Dustin, Emily, Aiden, Roger, Richard and Kevin Worth.
Kyle running to catch a pass from Kevin. Dustin, Emily pursuing. Roger just standing there? (JK, Rog).
Aiden enjoying getting out of the reach of Kevin and Kyle.
Everyone, including Dustin, Aiden and Bryan watched to see if Kyle could complete that interception. Wow did he try!
Beautiful pass by Kyle. Look at that form!
The group pictured here is a very friendly group; we even go out to breakfast together once a month (after we have sufficiently exercised of course).
l. I consider myself a "bag-lady" in that I am drawn to handbags, satchels, baskets, decorative boxes and all kinds of containers.
2. My husband and I do not know where we will go once we retire, but we have chosen our final resting place. (Oh, the place? Lund, Idaho along with Garienne, Adrienne, Garr and Adalia plans that as well)
3. I have a list of 100 things I want to do before my life is over, which I used to keep under my mattress, but which is now in a special folder on my computer.
4. I was on an ocean liner (sorta like the Love boat) returning to the U.S. from France. I met a cute boy, about my age. We went to the swimming pool and the movies together. I knew no French, he knew no English. "Love" is a universal language I guess (at least when you are 12). Let's reword that to say "puppy-love" O.K?
5. My only claim to near fame: in 1950 when I was six years old my brothers, Ken, Larry and I won a talent-find contest in Phoenix Arizona in which we did a tap dance routine. Along with wining a camera, a dog and a year's supply of dog food we had the privilege of performing on the TV show that sponsored the contest. Contestants returned every week, in an effort to retain their winning title. I recently mentioned to my brother Larry that I am once again taking tap lessons. He then told me something I had never known. The person who beat us out the next week when we performed was none other than Wayne Newton.
6.While in my last and final semester of college at BYU and just before graduating from the School of Nursing my instructor in Neurology (a tough subject for me) called me into her office and commented on my current grades. I was unaware that my grades were slipping; she inquired on the status of my current boyfriend (who later became my husband) and suggested I pay more attention to my schooling and less attention to him in order to improve my currently plummeting GPA. She then confided in me a fact of which I was entirely unaware: if this current dip in my grades were to go unchecked it would eliminate the possibility of me graduating as valedictorian of my class. (I had no idea that was even a remote possibility). The fact that I kept the relationship with my now wonderful husband and ignored my teachers advice suggests I chose the better part. At least I think so.
Celeste figured anything in a turban meant rolaty and that made her a queen.
JUST A MOM
A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself. "What I mean is," explained the recorder,"do you have a job or are you just a......?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman. "I'm a Mom"
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it,"said the recorder emphatically.
I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the
same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, 'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'
"What is your occupation?" she probed. What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out."I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest,"just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,I heard myself reply,"I have a continuing program of research,[what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field,(normally I would have said indoors and out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)and already have four credits (all daughters). Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,(any mother care to disagree?)and I often work 14 hours a day,(24 is more like it).But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door.
As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,(a 6 month old baby)in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy! And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than"just another Mom."
What a glorious career!
We ended up waiting two and a half hours beyond the scheduled time. (The Doc had a complication in his prior surgery.) Grant took advantage of the time. Even in the room designed for his pre-ops he was still tethered to his computer.
Home at last.
I am wondering if there is a time when you have ever provided a caption or description to a picture for the sake of making it funny? Cartoonists do this all the time. They use a picture that lends itself to becoming comical by it's description or caption. You can turn this into a fun game if you have a sense of humor. I am not a skilled photographer and thus I end up producing pictures that are ideal for just such a situation. When I went to post my pictures of Sidni's baptism I found I had once again taken some photos (not all but some) falling into the category just described. So I decided to post them along with some good ones and give you a chance for some fun. Gather the family around and see what you all can come up with as captions for these photos. If you care to submit them in a comment we could get a contest going. Perhaps Chris could garner enough points to put him back on our Christmas list. (Well, maybe just the Christmas card list, if he tried really hard.) Anyone care to take the challenge? Just number the pictures starting below with Anna's mother as # 1.