Monday, December 18, 2006

Do you believe?

With Christmas right around the corner, I should be feeling more of the Christmas spirit… I should be awaiting the day, barely able to breathe because of my excitement about Christ’s birth. I should….but I’m not.

Instead, I am angry. Replacing the joy that I should be feeling about the birth of Christ, is exasperation over what people perceive to be Christmas. You know what I’m talking about…the bright lights, the Santa on every street corner jingling his bell and saying “ho, ho, ho”, and the general mishmash of lawn scenes—the nativity with the three wise men, blow-up snow globes, shepherds tending their reindeer, and Santa-the angel of the Lord bringing good tidings of great joy….

Yes, I know I’m the Grinch, intent on stealing the Christmas spirit from others, especially small children…but…I wonder…would people love Christmas just as much if Santa weren’t a part of it…if the presents to unwrap were moved to a different day, and Christ was the only reason for celebration on the 25th? Somehow I don’t think our society would pause for celebration…

As the 25th draws close, I urge you to think about the real reason for celebration…the miracle that happened so long ago. Christmas shouldn’t be about whether you can still “hear the bells” or what is under the tree; rather it should be about your belief in Jesus Christ.

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”-Mark 9:24

I believe in a sovereign God who created the universe and therefore has a right to call the shots. I believe he is a God of love and kept promises. I believe that he chose to suffer my personal punishment so that I can be united with God. I believe that God’s purpose for me, day by day, and moment by moment, is to direct me to be more like Jesus. I believe that loving one another as Jesus loved us will help us to overcome the evil that surrounds us. I believe in forgiveness. I believe that we can make a difference in the world, by loving well and living in hope. I believe.

‘All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”’—Matthew 1:22-23

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Comedy of Errors

Yup, anything bad that could have happened to Denise and I over the past several days, did. It will be a relief to have a weekend, and hopefully mend some of the things that need repair...

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Derby at a "Trainer of Trainers" IEP conference. Since it is quite a drive to get there, Denise and I needed to leave pretty early. I showed up at Denise's house, according to plan, ready to drive my trusty Malibu to Derby, only to find out that my trusty Malibu wasn't as trusty as I thought. I had a completely flat tire, and there was no chance to change it and still be able to get to Derby in time. So....Denise volunteered to take her "gem" of a gas guzzling SUV instead. Although the day got off to a rocky start, it did smooth out and become a bit more "normal", at least while we were at the conference.

For Tuesday evening I had invited Kym, Troy and Breona over for supper and a viewing of the taped "Grey's Anatomy" segments that they hadn't seen yet. I was a bit rushed when I got home to get dinner started, myself changed into warmer clothes, and then to meet Troy at Denise's house, as he was going to help me get my tire changed to the donut. While we were changing the tire, Denise's husband Jason came home. He wandered over and decided that he needed to help as well. He plugged the tire, but made sure that I knew that he didn't think much of the shape of the tires, or the fact that I had managed to pick up a nail in my tire while driving in town. In light of the shape of the tires, come Sat. I'll be forking over about $400.00 for new ones...

Supper went well, although not up to the standards I prefer...Oh well... Denise called part of the way through the evening to tell me that her grandfather had passed away that day. She wasn't certain when the funeral was going to be, but it could be as early as the next day, Wed.

Wednesday morning comes, Jayden's eyes are matted shut, and puffy red. Denise suspects pink eye, but also realizes that she has to be at the conference with me. She frantically tries to find a sitter since J. can't go to daycare with pink eye. Great Grandma takes her, but the last time she took care of one of the girls with pink eye, she also got infected... I again show up to pick Denise up in the morning. We get partway out of town, but the car is shaking badly, and there is an awful rubber smoky smell, so I turn around, and we take the gas guzzler again.

On the way out of town, take two, we nearly got backed over by a semi at the grain coop, who backed into the road as we were coming down it. If it hadn't been for the "gem" and it's offroading abilities, we would have been smooshed.

We arrive at the conference, and things proceed as normal until lunch time. Denise and I leave for lunch, only to find out that Denise had forgotten to turn off her lights in the morning, and the battery is now dead. Denise had jumper cables in the back, and we both know how to use them, we just had to track down someone to help us. The first person we approached, a lady from Marion County, was smoking a cigarette outside of her car. We asked whether she would help us, only to be turned down. She said that her husband told her that if anyone asked to have a jump off of her vehicle to tell them no, since she was going to need a new battery soon. Okay!?! We said "fine", and tried to find someone else. There was a man coming out of the building we had just been in (I later found out that he is a director at Derby), and so I approached him and asked whether he would help. I told him that we had jumper cables, and that we knew how to attach them, but we just need a vehicle to jump off of. His response? "Um......................................ok." He was not willing to help, and we could tell. What are these people's problems? It is the Christmas season, when you are supposed to be full of good cheer and a willingness to help those in need! We're not asking for $50.00, or a ride somewhere, just you-pulling your car up-turning the ignition on. Wow!

We got the car jumped, and set off to get lunch. I gave Denise a quick tour of Derby. We hit Dollar Tree and bought some good things for school Christmas exchanges. When we got back Denise was getting out of the car and caught her purse handle on the door lock. When we tried to close the door it wouldn't, with a 2 inch gap. We kept trying to fix it, but all I could think of was Denise sitting in the driver's seat on the way home, with her foot on the pedals, and her hands gripping the door shut, while I tried to steer from the passenger seat. It took us about 10 minutes of fiddling with the lock, and shoving it from this angle and that angle before it finally shut! Crisis averted again!

The rest of the conference went well (oh yeah, did I mention that I might have told the presenter that I already knew the information? whoops!) Thankfully she agreed with me, and thought it was funny that I told her. Oh well...the stress can get to me sometimes...

We headed home ready for some rest and relaxation. Denise's next few days don't seem to be any better than the last two though. She had a personal day planned for today, but she'll have Jayden in tow since J. has pink eye and can't go back to daycare for the rest of the week, she has her grandfather's viewing to go to. Funeral on Friday, and oh yeah, her brother gets married on Sat. She will be at her emotional end by Sunday, and will actually need a sick day to recover, I'd think.

I'm looking forward to Sat. I'll get my tire problem fixed, and then hopefully some of this will slow down a bit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Puffed Dutch

Well, it's another Sat. and I haven't yet written about all that occurred last weekend! In honor of Patrick's birthday the Buller clan gathered in Park City to celebrate. We had a wonderful meal: baked potato bar, with eclair dessert and apple cake. We played a rousing game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey...and passed baby Adam around. After the aunts and uncles left, the cousins had a "gathering". The boys watched the games until early morning, and Carmen and I went shopping! As I already had all of my Christmas shopping completed, we made a good start on Carmen's!

This week I've registered for my A/P massage course, only to be called the next day and told that the class I had registered in is full, and that I'm bumped. The lady did say that there will be a "pay drop" day, and those that haven't paid for the course will be dropped, which would give me a chance to be in the class since I've paid in full already. Anyway, I hope that a few people drop, and that will give me a chance to get in. Otherwise, it will be yet another semester that will have been wasted. I'm not sure Carolann will agree to tutor me if I'm not enrolled in the A and P course. We'll see what all happens.

Thursday I spent at an inservice called is a set of 12 modules (1 taught per day) that teaches the background behind why we teach what we do when we are teaching a child to read, what parts of the brain are being used, and when a child is developmentally ready for each area. This was the second in the series and we focused on phonemic awareness. It is alot of good and interesting information. With the kids that I'm working with, this should help me determine which areas exactly they are having problems with, and then I'll know what to focus on with them.

Friday, Denise and her girls came over for supper...I made some pork chops for Denise and myself, and the girls had chicken with buttered potatoes, creamy butternut squash, salad, green beans and some of Julie's cookies for dessert. Denise's husband's birthday is today, and so she's been hiding the gift at my house, a brand new grill--it is enormous with huge grill space, and on both sides are platforms with burners to keep things warm, or to have the baked beans going while you are grilling. Denise spent her time putting a big bow on the grill while I finished up supper. After supper the girls danced to Christmas music, and Jayden did some yoga, while intermittently chasing "Jay-Jay" (Manje, the cat). The two oldest girls spent the night, so we spent time doing a ballet video that I had given them for Christmas last year, we also watched "Prince Caspian" together (courtesy of Heidi and Tim), and then read "Hey, Little Ant" before heading to bed. This morning I made Dutch Puff for breakfast and we had hot "cho-co" with marshmallows. Yummy... The girls are pretty picky eaters, so we spent a lot of time discussing how Dutch Puff is really just a baked pancake that puffs up really big. They really liked it, especially with bananas and syrup on it. This morning we watched "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" before Denise picked them up to go downtown to see Santa.

Today, I think I'm going to try to get some of the household chores done, that I usually successfully avoid...I have the time to do them though, so they should probably get done. I'm not sure of what my plans are for this evening...I might drop in on the party that Denise is throwing for her husband, or maybe just spend a quiet evening at home reading... Who knows...

I'll include a recipe for Dutch Puff in case you want to try it yourself!

Dutch Puff

What you need:

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

4 eggs

1/3 cup margarine

What you do:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place margarine in large shallow pan and put it in the oven until it is hot and bubbly. Put flour, milk, and eggs in a blender and mix well, or you may beat it with a mixer. Remove margarine pan from the oven VERY carefully! Pour batter into pan of hot melted margarine. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until pancake is high and puffed. Serve immediately!