The Day After Christmas

The struggle is real.

I came downstairs this morning to begin a Christmas tradition with my family… Making the “monkey bread” that’s a special holiday treat. There was no time to bake it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. When I did have a little down time, we ordered pizza or ate leftovers. Or I just put my feet up and had some eggnog with brandy.

I’m incredibly blessed to have ministry opportunities in two venues: my work as a Hospice Chaplain, and my position as Assistant Minister at a progressive Baptist church. But today, I am going to enjoy my family,  open some presents, ignore my phone, and share in the cooking of a good meal. I might clean up enough of the counter to have a place to sit down and eat. Or not.

But most likely, I’m going to rest. And count the blessings I see… because they are everywhere. Once I have a few moments to breathe, I’ll get some other blog posts up…

Merry Christmas!

Happy Hanukkah!

Joyous Kwanzaa!

And peace be yours…

Pizza box flambé

One time I put cat food in my daughter’s lunch. 

I left a child at school after a concert and had to go back and get her. 

I have left sugar out of apple pie and burned dinner on many occasions. 

And in the interests of full disclosure, tonight I forgot we had left pizza boxes in the oven… and set a pizza box on fire. As in, real flames and smoke. 

Holy cow, what a mess!

Then as I tried to hastily get the smoke out of the house, I stepped on a cat’s tail and overturned his water dish. 

And then — because apparently that wasn’t enough — I discovered as I started getting ready for bed that I had worn my sweater inside-out ALL DAY. All the freaking day. (I guess I should be grateful for unobservant friends…)

In all of this mess that is a pastor-chaplain-mom-wife-friend-relative… There is still love, joy and grace. There is a large serving of humble pie, and a genuine attempt to obey the 11th Commandment:

Thou shalt not take thyself so damn seriously.

I think I’ve fulfilled that one today. 

Sing your heart out!

  

 The thermometer said it was 10° outside. I admit it. I was more than a little grumpy and cranky about getting up and getting dressed and going to church. My bed was so warm. The cats so purry…

And then… out in the maple tree, feathers fluffed against the cold, a little Carolina wren sang and sang and sang! (So much so, at first I thought it was an alarm or some kind of alert on one of our electronic devices!)

She sang and I watched little puffs of steam from her breath. The wind bobbled the branches up-and-down. She held on, and sang. 

My crankiness melted away. I smiled and watch this little wren, and my heart was lifted. I started to sing “let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

It seemed to be a bit of a reminder. God got my attention. There will be days it will be hard. There will be mornings when you feel chilled to the depths of your heart. There will be nights when it feels like the dawn is never coming. And still…

No one should be left out;    Let every man and every beast—    every creature that has the breath of the Lord—praise the Eternal! Praise the Eternal!

Psalm 150:6. The Voice

Thanks be to God!

Friday Five: The Family Foamhenge Game

This week I’m hosting the Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals. Play along if you’d like!

Foamhenge
Foamhenge
During a recent family reunion in Lexington, Virginia, I went with some members of my family to see Foamhenge. the creation of Mark Cline that “mysteriously” appeared one April Fools’ Day. It’s a life-sized styrofoam replica of the real deal. (I kid you not.) If you are in to off-the beaten-path, unique family bonding moments, this will do it.

Every family has their own traditions, quirks and follies. So for this week’s Friday Five, tell us about your family/tribe/clan for these 5 distinctive traits:

1. Favorite Game: We play a multi-handed game of Solitaire (yes that’s an oxymoron). We call it “Th-Wappa-Wappa” for onomatopoeic reasons. It’s hilarious, fast, furious and cutthroat. If you want to be a true member of the family, you learn how to play. And survive. Here’s an overhead shot of the start of one round:

thwappa
TH-Wappa-Wappa
2. Favorite Sports Team: Is there any doubt? THE Ohio State University!

3. Birthday tradition: The birthday person gets to set the menu (within reason) and decide what kind of birthday cake they want. There are candles. We aren’t very strict about the number over a certain age.

4.The place that you collectively call “Home” (even if none of you live there any more.) I’ve been thinking about this one a lot recently. I think I’d have to say Ohio, specifically the southeastern part where our immigrant ancestors had a homestead. If they didn’t cost $30, I’d buy one of these…)

5. Family Vacation Spot: Harbor Island, South Carolina. A lovely corner of the world.

2014-08-04 19.35.07

BONUS: Family Dessert: Everyone has it. That yummy, calorie-laden delight that frequents your table at parties or holidays. Share the recipe, or (if it’s a family secret) share a photo.

Well… this is probably the hardest. We do like our chocolate! The Old Family Recipe that I have made most often is Moorish Eggs (found here on our family cooking blog.)

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PSSST!!! There’s a contest going on over at RevGalBlogPals this week! Check it out! There’s a winner every day! 🙂

FRIDAY FIVE: Blooming things

This week I’m hosting the Friday Five over at RevGalBlogPals. You’re invited to play along in the comments if you’d like. 🙂

We often encourage each other to “bloom where you’re planted.” I like the symbolism, but realized that RevGals and Pals hail from all over the world! What blooms in Maryland may be far different than the flowers in your part of the world. So, to celebrate our diversity, show us five plants that bloom around your home or neighborhood. I’m looking forward to seeing the wide variety of beauty we have among us!

Right now in my back yard, there’s …

Peonies

This peony bush is from a start that was one of my grandmother’s. I love the way the blossoms open so wide and full. They attract all manner of bees, ants and hummingbirds.

2014-05-23 05.38.08
Grandma’s Peony
Roses

The Chicago Peace rose is a tea rose. It starts with a dark pink bud and the leaves turn from pink to peach and the blossom opens. This bloom is from last year… this year’s blossoms are just beginning to open!

Peace Rose
Peace Rose
Wisteria

We have a pergola that shades our back patio from the summer afternoon sun. The wisteria vines are slowly beginning to grow over the top and across the rafters now.

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Wisteria blooming on the pergola
Irises

More flowers from my grandmother! I’ve been dividing and moving the rhizomes as they are rapidly outgrowing (and overcrowding) their flower bed!

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Grandma’s Irises
and Clover!

I have the kind of yard that sprouts crabgrass, dandelions and clover. Obviously, our latest tenants in the warren out back are partial to clover! I love that they nibble off the stem from the plant, and then slowly chew down the stem until the flower is consumed last. (I guess it’s the rabbit’s version of slurping spaghetti?)

NomnomnomCLOVERnomnom
NomnomnomCLOVERnomnom