Archive for December, 2008

Counting Blessings
December 20, 2008

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.


Another year is drawing to a close, and here I sit doling out money to various people and entities (both charitable and governmental). 2008 has been a year of unplanned expenses, and many folks have heard me exclaim more than once, “Money is just POURING out of my house!” Good riddance to a year of hurricane damage, squirrels in the attic, oral surgery, multi car air conditioner problems, a cross country move by Shannon, computer woes, TMJ, etc.


But in spite of all the aforementioned “surprises”, I can honestly look back on 2008 with fond memories of happy times. We had some great trips to New Orleans, New York (several), Las Vegas and Colorado (several). Graduation weekend up at Bard was particularly memorable, with both of Shannon’s grandmothers able to accompany us and participate in the celebration. As for the cross country moving trips to CO, while they were not exactly FUN, they were a wonderful opportunity to just spend time with Shannon as we worked to get her moved and settled in. I recall much laughter along the way…


Speaking of Shannon, she is in a good situation, with a job offer extended just this month, for which we are all thrilled, most of all her! She is healthy, loved, sporting a new engagement ring from her precious Kat, whom we love dearly. Their future looks bright, and it’s a real joy to contemplate that fact.


We two are also healthy and happy, blessed beyond measure with a home filled with love, family, dear pets and friends. We are so grateful for our church family, who have lifted us up in times of worry; I don’t know what people do without a church home! Both of us get so much pleasure serving alongside our friends from St. Luke’s; it’s so true what they say that those who serve benefit from the positive experience.


To mark the end of this calendar year’s postings, I hearken back to my original blog entry of November 25, 2006:


… because this morning I once again heard the wild geese as they migrated down this way; those who know me understand how special this particular experience is to me. It centers me almost as much as the most spectacular sacred music performances do.


In particular, the geese tell me to step back, be still, simplify, listen to the small sounds that are often overlooked in our plugged in, high tech world and then savor them.


And so with all the anticipation of Christmas plus a visit from Shannon and Kat on the horizon, I wish to each and every one of you a most blessed holiday! Merriest Christmas and a most happy 2009!


note: pewperson will return on Saturday, January 3.


A Winter Wonderland
December 13, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

-Sammy Cahn


SNOW! In Houston. It’s such an unusual occurrence that it must be noted. My dentist (whom I’ve seen a lot of lately!) predicted that it was going to be a cold winter because she observed that her horse’s coat was the fuzziest she’d ever seen it in all the years she has had him.


It began as an overcast, blustery day with rain spitting in the morning. I walked the dogs only to the end of the street and back, for fear the rain would intensify. They were oblivious to it, however, I was a popsicle, although I had on a hooded heavy coat, earmuffs and gloves!

Later in the morning, my friend BB at church passed along the news that someone over in Columbus (not quite an hour due west) reported snow there. But nothing, not even that report, prepared me for the sight of small flakes fluttering down this afternoon. They came faster and grew fluffier, although none stuck to the ground. The winter wonderland experience didn’t last but maybe 30 minutes at first, but it was enough to get excited about.


It was the type of news that demanded sharing! There was a crew here from Comcast working on our cable line, and I shouted to them, “Come look!” I don’t think they appreciated it as much as I did, because they had to work out in it. So I called a couple of other folks that might actually share my excitement, including Shannon up in Colorado, who thought it ironic that it was snowing here and not there.  


We (dogs and I) walked through the “blizzard” to go down to the mailbox. I caught a few of the flakes on my glove, and Shadow’s coat was sprinkled with even more. Then, later in the evening, the flakes fell anew, dusting the ground and leaves with a frosty whiteness that glowed in the nighttime. It was delightful to sit by the fire and just gaze out the window.


The last time it snowed here was on Christmas Eve 2004. I remember leaving church after the 6:00 service (in which Shannon sang Vivaldi’s Gloria with the choir) to witness the sight of large flakes whirling through the air. What a magical experience it was! It made everyone smile and added to our Christmas spirit.


But these recent snowfalls can’t hold a candle to the January snow of 1973, the year I graduated from Lamar High School. Not only did the snow stick, it was inches deep- enough to make big snowmen and cancel school for a few days (thank goodness I got a few more days to study for my chemistry exam!). We seniors had a great time playing in the snow for the duration, and then, amazingly enough, it snowed again later that winter, although not nearly as much as the first time.


Alas, all good things must come to an end, and we awoke the next day to clear skies and not a trace of the magic from the night before. I have to admit, though, while I thought the snow was neat, I don’t think I’d want to live in a place where it happens all winter in large quantities. Give me a Houston winter anytime…

Mother of the Bride, Chapter 2
December 6, 2008

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

-Cardinal Newman (1834)

And so it came to pass that it was time to order the all-in-one engagement announcement/party invitation/Christmas card. I had played around with the wording of it, which met with Shannon’s approval, so I was ready to roll. Since she is so far away, she was going to have to trust me to come up with the card selection, which had to be a little Christmassy, but not over the top.

My dear “Christmas Card Lady” who would come to my house with her big books of colorful selections had retired this year, so I made plans to head for the stationery store. On the way there, I had a light bulb moment when I realized that my little neighborhood gift store (The Villager) offers cards and stationery, so I made a beeline in that direction. Happily, my old friend Maureen was in charge of this area, and I described to her what I had in mind: an announcement as the main sentiment in the card with an insert for the invitations for our close friends and family who have meant so much to Shannon over the years, and to Kat’s immediate family.

Maureen knew just what to do, which is why she is in charge over there! She made it easy, and when the results came in, I was pleased. I bought out all the double stick tape in the store (to affix photo) and started the assembly line of stick, insert, address, seal, stamp. Since my brilliant idea was to double dip the Christmas card and engagement announcement/invitation all in one, I figured I was halving the time of this annual chore!

I first focused on the cards to the folks who would receive the invitation insert, so I could go ahead and get them out. It was a happy day when I deposited them in the mailbox, and now I can take my time on the others. Thankfully, we are not entertaining anyone over here until Christmas Day, so my piles can stay put.

Calls were made to our favorite caterer and to our trusty party helpers, just to be sure they would be available two days after Christmas, which they both are (whew!). Now we just have to count heads, count glasses and borrow clear glass plates from my sister!

Oh, I forgot, I also have to decorate the house, decorate the tree, purchase gifts, plan Christmas dinner for 20 or so and then turn around and have a party for 75 or so two days later. All with three houseguests in addition to Shannon and Kat. Ack!

Three weeks to go… Must not clench my teeth.