A Different Kind of Christmas This Year…


christmas 2013

Christmas is a little different at my house this year.  So far, there is no tree decorated in the living room, no big meal planned yet, all the presents are still in the closet, as is the door wreath.  It’s quiet.  The Johnny Mathis Christmas cd is still in the case.  It seems like Thanksgiving was yesterday and it’s already time for holiday madness to be swinging in full force.  I don’t know why, but this household is holding out.  It’s all happening too fast and time is jumbled up in a close knot.  I need to find a way to spread it out and undo some of it.  Anyone else feel that way?

I want these Advent days to slow down so that I can savor them.  I want time to move in slow motion like it did when I was a little girl.  I want every minute to be recorded in my memory instead of seeing the blur of a fast paced Christmas season.  It’s just too much this year.  I’m not prepared.

I saw the singer Jewel on the Today Show this morning and she seemed to have a handle on what Christmas should be.  She said something to the effect of having a child brings back the joy of Christmas.   Now, that’s profound.  

Ahh, therein lies the problem.  I don’t have my children around me, and by that I mean grandchildren.  After all, my boys are all grown up and, being boys, they have their own lives to live, don’t they?  My gaggle of grandchildren lives just far enough away that I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.  I think that because November and December seem to have collided this year, the opportunity to see them has been limited.   I can’t wait till I can get my hands on them!  We are going to have such fun!  I can see it all now:  teaching them how to bake cookies, making Christmas presents for their parents, the cousins getting together and having a blast playing games, taking pictures, hugging, kissing, and loving each other. 

Yeah, that’s Christmas. 

I have a new friend (writer Fletcher McHale – check her out https://nantubre.com/2013/11/04/book-review-save-us-a-seat-by-fletcher-mchale-nablopomo-4/) who has a very unique way to make note of her prayers.  She starts out with the line “dear 7lb 8oz Baby Jesus”.  I’m going to borrow that line just this once because it seems appropriate during this Advent season.  My prayer goes something like this:

Dear 7lb 8oz Baby Jesus,

You are such a beautiful baby.  And what a shame that you had to grow up to become the Sacrificial Lamb but I thank you for it.  And I thank you for your tenderness and mercy shown to me throughout my whole life.  And the blessings, the blessings from you, Baby Jesus, that I call my Grandchildren.  My gratitude is eternal.   This Christmas I intend to celebrate you in a new way.  I’m not looking at the hustle and bustle of the world.  I’m not looking at all the lights and the wrapping paper and the cards.  I’m not struggling to buy the biggest and the best.  I’m looking for you in my heart and in the innocent eyes of little ones.  I’m planning to see you through simple joys and hopeful promises of love and laughter.  The genuine kind, not the kind that comes with opening presents and racking up gift after gift.  I only have one gift to give; my love.  And that gift will be a celebration of You, given freely, joyfully, happily.  It will be given in terms of guiding little hands pressed against each other in prayers of thankfulness and teaching them to shape gingerbread men for the oven.  It will be given through the reading of the Christmas story.  To the best of my ability, it will be lavished upon whomever You put in my path.  But I will need Your strength and a good dollop of Your unconditional love to sustain me.  I’m not that strong on my own, you know.   Thank You, dear Baby Jesus.  Love, Nan

Share the Christmas Love by praying for peace. Ya’ll have a good one!

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Ima Golden Girl


Oh. My. Gaaaaaa. Now it’s getting real. I’m afraid I must face the reality that I have become a senior citizen. Of course, I have been eligible for quite a while but it somehow seemed to be a projected image, not reality. Now I know for sure it is true. How can I tell, you ask? Let’s talk about aches and pains. Knarly knuckles. ‘Naturally’ frosted hair. Melting facial structure. Semi-crooked stance. The reluctant surrender to sensible shoes.

I am all of this.

When did it happen? How can I fix it? I’m pleading with Father Time….wait! not so fast! I’m so surprised. I thought I was immune to that process. I can’t stop it but all is not wasted; surprisingly I may have learned to enjoy it. In fact, this time in my life is the best. There are certain perks about senior citizenship, I promise. Take discounts. Oh yeah, I’ll take a discount! And the fact that life’s little dramas are less dramatic*. And respect (for the ‘elderly’) seems to come from out of the blue. I like that. I admit secretly I’m pretty tickled when some salesperson, hostess, or anyone younger than me calls me ma’am. I don’t pay any attention to the younger ones who audaciously roll their eyes at me. They will get it soon enough, might as well enjoy the moment of thinking they know it all. They don’t, and that, my friends, is a highly revered truth known to senior citizens everywhere. A long time passes before their folly is realized, but trust me, realized it will be.

*About life’s little dramas…a couple of weeks ago I took a fall down the steps of my deck and landed on my apparently well-padded chest. You know how some things seem to happen in slow motion and a million thoughts flash through your mind in a split second? My falling thoughts went like this: “I could break a hip. My teeth! Please don’t break! I could smash all my teeth on the concrete. Oh well, I’ll get dentures.” Yes, those were my thoughts. It’s embarrassing.

I don’t care what anybody says. The golden years are a blast. A woman really comes into her own later in life. There’s something about being closer to the end than the beginning that spurs her into doing as much as she can while she’s here. That’s how I see it. In fact, that was one motivating factor when I wrote SECRETS OF THE OLD LADIES’ CLUB. I wanted to tell everyone that life doesn’t end with the proverbial senior citizen discount. It really just begins. Oldage, as opposed to old age, gives a person permission to have fun and do what they want. Learn to play the piano! Create new neuron pathways in the old brain! Love richly in the way that only age and experience can teach!
thinking old

addendum: My late Mother-in-law was the epitome of southern gentility with her glorious white hair and impeccable manners. I knew that by her reputation before I ever met her and she didn’t disappoint. However, imagine my surprise when, the very first time I met her, she had this to say:
“Do you know how to tell when you’ve got an old man? Look at him, his ears stick out like the doors of a taxi cab, his nose gets longer, his shoulders droop, his gut sticks out and his butt gets flat. But you really know he’s an old man when his s*** floats in the tub!”
She was something, that old gal!

Ok ya’ll, don’t forget to pray for peace!