Tuesday, November 27, 2012

On This Autumn Evening

There's a smoky sky out tonight and the moon has already risen above the prickly, bare treetops.  The moon's glow is soft, like the lamplight here inside.  The shadowy evening is hushing over our home as the older children play out the day's matchbox drama at my feet.  The little ones are quiet, as am I, enjoying the chatter and the crimson silhouette of the cardinal feeding on the porch.  The smell of our dinner is creeping about the house, and all is ready for Daddy's arrival. This is what I'm most thankful for.  God has moved mountains for us this year, but this feeling of peace and calmness is what I treasure most.  My treasures live here in this small house.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

"Home to Thanksgiving" by George Durrie
It's officially the holiday season.  Most people view the upcoming months with mixed emotions--eagerness for the good times the holidays bring, dread of the busyness, and if you're a child, focused attention on every mysterious package.  I can honestly say I don't have mixed emotions about the holidays this year.  I'm very glad to see that this year and all it has brought to us is coming to a close.  God has been incredibly sustaining through this marathon year for our family.  Thankfulness is all I'm feeling right now.                                                               I have to admit, the poignancy of  this year's gratefulness has made me reevaluate my traditional views on the holiday season.  I think I've officially crossed the line into becoming a bigger fan of Thanksgiving holiday than Christmas, which I know is downright peculiar.  My reasoning is this...I love Thanksgiving more because it is all Christmas should be and isn't.  For Thanksgiving, we make family and fellowship a priority.  You rarely feel the stress or regret of too many parties and obligations at Thanksgiving.  People generally leave you alone to celebrate with your family.  There's no overemphasis on gifts.  I find it so ironic that Christmas now is all about gifts, even more so than when I was young (and that wasn't all that long ago!).  Isn't it a wonder that God sent us the perfect, life-changing gift for free?  There was no expectation of an appropriate reciprocal gift; it was given with no strings attached.  That attitude is not one I often see emulated, particularly  during the Christmas season.                                                                                                                         There is so much to do, so much money you ought to spend, so much glitter and sparkle that it's difficult to see through the tinsel to what we're celebrating.  It's such an uphill battle showing your children what Christmas is about...you're contradicted at every turn!  It's not the same at Thanksgiving so far, and for that I am very grateful.  It's a wonderful thing to celebrate our very American holiday away from the maddening crowds and expectations.  It's  a wonderful thing to spend the day celebrating the goodness of God to you and yours without a pile of presents to distract, without endless parties to take you away from your children. The quietness and calmness (well, as calm as it ever is with four children) suits me when I want to think and reflect.  God is ever present for us...He keeps blessing and shielding us, even when we're so busy or preoccupied that we don't see it.  From my humble point of view, it's much easier to see and appreciate Him with the still, small voice of Thanksgiving than with the jubilant shout of Christmas.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Real Story of Cincinnati Chili, Part 6

Have I ever mentioned that I'm not a big fan of Hannistina's chili?
To brush up on what was happening, here is Part 5.                                                           I realize what cruel and unusual punishment it has been for you faithful readers to wait so long to discover Hannistina's next brilliant move.  Blame baby Megan...luckily she's cute enough to counterbalance all that criticism.  On to the story...                                   Hannistina allowed his arm to guide her across the street to her house and even handed him the keys to unlock the door.  It was fun to be taken care of.  She made her way into  the kitchen, hurrying to warm last night's disastrous dish.  She herself had come to think that it was one of her best creations.  The warm, comforting dish was not a delicacy, for sure, but it did have it's own charm.  She 
scooped  the chili into her favorite bowl and generously topped it with freshly grated Cheddar cheese.  She added a spoon and presented Dudley with her creation.  Dudley took 
the dish, closed his eyes and sniffed.  A smile crossed his face.  He tried one bite.  He took another bite.       "Oh, Hannistina."      Hannistina's eyes met Dudley's  as he leaned closer.  Hannistina was shocked.  She did not have time to react as Dudley's lips met hers.  This was not the reaction she had in mind! 
     A combination of instinct and self-defense classes took over.   She vigorously screamed and grabbed his arm from her waist, twisting it until Dudley  flipped  completely over.  Panic had given her superhuman strength.  As his portly  frame hit the tiled floor with a thud, his head flew back, slamming into the ceramic countertop, jarring the tupperware container of chili over the edge of the counter and into the sink.  Lucklily, the bulk of the contents were 
caught in the strainer full of spaghetti Hannistina had forgotten about when she left on  her errand. Dudley, rendered unconscious by the impact, was unaware of the  large, reddened counter mark on his expansive balding forehead.  After the initial shock, Hannistina distinctly remembered trying to run three ways all at once--to the ringing phone, the chili spaghetti draining into the sink, and to the unfortunate bulky, bruised specimen on the floor.  It was a moment of chaos  she would always remember in later years every time someone ordered what she  would affectionately name the "three way".
                                                                       ***Note:  For those of you not from the Cincinnati area, a three way is a way to order chili on spaghetti with cheese on top.  Local places keep adding toppings as ordered, thus creating the five way, etc.  I wonder if it goes higher than that...I have no idea.  Perhaps a local could fill us in...or I could just google the Skyline website...or not.  (cue music: "It's Skyline time...")                  Ah, yes.  As I recall, it was another writer who was feeling sentimental as this installment was nearing Valentine's Day.  I had different plans for our heroine, though, and inserted the injury.  Sorry to spoil your hopes of a sweet, romantic ending, C********.  (Name left out to protect the writer's identity).                       Stay tuned...the next installment is one of my favorites.  It's a great insight into Hannistina's manic-depressive, chocolate-obsessive behavior.  I know you're on pins and needles...         

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Grown Up Birthday Date With Daddy

Unbelievably, this gorgeous seven year old is my Cara!  I can't believe how fast the time has flown!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

So This is What We've Been Up To The Past Few Months...

This little bunch of cuteness is our little Megan.  It's official--we're twice as much girls as guys now.  Let the giggling begin!  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Comfort for a Bluesy Day

My Modern Day Perry Mason
It's been one of those days.  What with the election last night, all the doomsdaying on the news, and some terribly cranky children, I admit to feeling a mite tired and overwhelmed.  Now my normal approach to this would be the chocolate stash, but I happen to be a little depleted.  Option number two is on right now.  I'm watching Judge Judy.  Now that would be a career I could really endorse.  Having the legal authority to penalize and make fun of stupid people with an audience there to cheer you on is really living the dream.  When life seems like there's no justice or security, it's time to watch Judge Judy let the one-liners fly.  Imagine the fun of seeing a moron, rolling your eyes at the moron, then publicly declaring said moron to be moronic in a crowd of like-minded silently cheering grinners.  Also a grumpy policeman accomplice to grunt in agreement and do my fetching for me...I couldn't dream of a better day job.  Vive Judge Judy!  We responsible, tax-paying law abiders are living vicariously through you!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Is This Your First?"

Any similarity with a real, living blog writer is purely coincidental...really.          The question was launched at "Anna" (the name was changed to protect the innocent) while she was entering the building for her six week postpartum visit.  A twitch of a smile--almost a snicker--played about her lips.  Obviously the asker is either ignorant or overly kind, ignoring the disheveled clothes, gray-speckled mass of untamed hair and the hunted, frantic look about "Anna's" eyes.  She thought about her far from maidenly figure and the nonchalance with which she approached the upcoming violating office visit, to say nothing of the ease with which she juggled an ungodly amount of baby gear while running through the parking lot.      She paused, smiled, then answered, "No.  This is number four actually".        The unidentified questioner said what everyone says, "Oh wow!  You must be busy!".      I--er---I mean "Anna" just smiled and rushed away.  Busy, yes indeed, and also late...another hallmark of a vanfull of kiddos.