Movie Dinner

Our Christmas Day celebration was unusual. Celebrating with family was over and no big dinner plans for just the two of us. For the first time ever I got Bob to watch the humorous movie “The Christmas Story” which has nothing to do with our faith. He has always loved BB guns and had only seen portions of the movie. “You’ll shoot your eye out!” In that movie when the neighbor dogs steal the Christmas dinner, the family goes to a Chinese restaurant. So I suggested we order Chinese for our Christmas dinner, too. We called the restaurant to be certain they would be open. I know the woman who works there is a Christian and we did not want to take any chances.

Sure enough they were going to be open! So here was my Christmas dinner this year!

Cashew Chicken with Vegetable Egg Roll and broccoli from Bob’s Sesame Chicken! YUM. And we always get two meals from Chinese Takeout so that made double yum, but only one egg roll.

Not posting any big end of the year ideas. We have each had a difficult year in our own ways. I think the second verse of 2020 (i.e., 2021) will be much like the first. Glad the vaccines are here. Unlikely the virus will become under control for many more months to come.

Meanwhile, I am downsizing in a major way! Have compacted my sewing room. Will likely only sew a few masks and do mending in the future. I have one more t-shirt quilt in mind, but that too might not happen! Gotten rid of the major portion of crochet patterns collected over the years. As a crochet teacher I had collected many patterns. I got nostalgic when I found patterns I had made for my children and grandchildren. Following the advice of my friend Betty and our former Pastor, Bob Gerhardt, I am trying to embrace growing older gracefully. Letting go of things from the past is one way to do that.

Next we move to the main floor of the house and down size there, too. The builder should break ground on our new house in February. They say it will be ready in May. I’m thinking Bob will be ready to move in April and I won’t be surprised if it takes until June.

So don’t shoot your eye out, wash your hands, wear your mask and social distance for months to come. We each want to live to enjoy thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s 2021.

Speaking of Our Beagle

When our daughter’s family came over Lucky Dog was in heaven. After opening gifts we had cake and ice cream and then put our masks back on while we visited. Oldest Grandgirl gives the dog an all over scratching. Same girl does not like to have her photo taken, so sadly, no picture of her. Younger Grandgirl decided to give Lucky a massage. This dog was hoping the girls would just move in and stay forever!

This is the face of Beagle contentment!

See Grandgirl’s smiling eyes!

I love you! Don’t stop!!!
The Parents are not going to take her away, are they?!?!

I believe Lucky almost cried when they left. Such are the glories of a doggie Christmas!

Windy December

The change of seasons always seems to hit hard in December. In southwestern Ohio we tend to have high winds during those times. The folks who display blow up decorations are hard pressed to drop their displays in time not to have them suffer permanent damage.

In years past people tended to buy hard plastic decorations. You have likely seen something like the one below over the years.

One year at Christmas time we were bringing our oldest Grandgirl to our house after her nursery school had let out for the day. At our encouragement she was looking at decorations along the way. It had been one of those windy December days. We passed the home of a Catholic family. They tended to not place the baby Jesus in the display until December 24th.

As we passed their yard Lizzie said, “I see Mary. I see Joseph. I guess Jesus blowed away!”

Sweet memory!

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:6-7 NIV

Make room in your heart for Him this year! You will not regret it.

Star ?

Taken from https://images.twnmm.com/c55i45ef3o2a/5uIs5BUABAKcx7RAh1D4ju/43059da5725182207a342122cffd3644/Jupiter-Saturn-to-Great-Conjunction.jpg?w=680&q=10&fm=jpg

So what is the hype with the weatherman these days? (Guess I should say weather person.) They say that Jupiter and Saturn are going to be in close proximity on December 21st. {Oh! That is Monday she thinks as she writes this on Sunday afternoon.}

Being in the Northern Hemisphere, I am told to look to the southwest. I looked up all this information online for a better understanding about the details. “The December 21, 2020 conjunction will be the closest great conjunction since July 16, 1623. At the great conjunction of 1623, Jupiter and Saturn were slightly less than 0.1 degrees apart. The last time that the two planets were easily observable when separated by less than 0.1 degrees was almost 800 years ago, during the great conjunction of 1226.” Okay, now I am understanding how unusual this is! 1623 or 1226. I am no longer thinking pandemic here, yeah! Got my mind in outer space! Referring to conjuction means how these planets will appear to our eyes. They will not truly be only that far apart.

“In fact, some scholars have theorized that the original Christmas star, known as the Star of Bethlehem, might also have been a great conjunction.” Now we are venturing into speculation. I am not much for speculation. That site also referred to the Star the Wise men followed as Christian lore. Sort of made me grind my teeth.

As Bob and I drove around looking at Christmas Lights and decorations and discussing this my thoughts went as follows.

 
 
 
 20-12-21 © Molly Lin Dutina 
  
 Moon wearing a veil of clouds
 As we try to see planets conjunction of light
 Some speculate that is what happened
 At birth of my Lord
 I think perhaps their minds are veiled. 

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 NIV

The bad news is they say this conjunction will be visible in our location at 12:20 PM. Wait, that is lunch time! We will not be able to see the planets at all then. However, if the night sky is clear you can bet I will be going outside (probably with Lucky Dog) to see what I can of Jupiter and Saturn making history. I will start trying an hour after sunset. If I read the time charts correctly, my friends near Kathmandu will have a much better chance.

Lord, open the eyes, hearts and minds of all those veiled to Your truth. Help them to give themselves to You. Then they will have the merriest Christmas ever.

Jesus + You = the Greatest Conjunction ever!

A Favorite Memory

When our daughter was 3-1/2 years and our son a mere 6 months old, we were preparing to attend Christmas Eve service. I had done my best as a young mother to provide decorations and memorable things for our daughter’s third Christmas. I had even found a tiny creche set with a baby Jesus in the manger. He was about 1 inch long. My daughter was given her very first purse that year. I got her all dressed for church and then began getting our son ready. He was not one to be patient if he got at all overheated. Before he hollered over being bundled up we were out the door and in the car.

As our family settled in the pew, I noticed our daughter was holding something in her hand. I finally asked to see what it was, fearing some sticky candy or something. Slowly she opened her hand to show me. Turned out she had taken the tiny baby Jesus out of the manger scene while I was dressing our baby. She looked up at me with her big brown eyes and solemnly said, “I thought He ought to come, too.” I almost burst into tears!

Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 NIV

Our Major Christmas Outing

Our Cincinnati Nature Center offered an event this month for the first time ever. They call it “Light in the Forest.”

People were required to wear a mask at all times. Historic buildings were decorated for the season. There were items for sale in the Rowe Visitor Center. Being extra careful we did not go into the Visitor Center.

There were lights in the the trees. There were moving lights upon the trees. There were luminaries along parts of the path. There were young people directing us which way to go when the trail came to a fork. There were electric icicles in some trees. The Krippendorf Lodge was decorated nicely but it seemed sweltering hot in there after being outside!

There were no refreshments as masks were required at all times.

Here is the closest we got to our daughter and her family! And it was only for moment out of doors!

We had a nice outdoors walk in the night, ie., 8 to 9 PM.

Ellie, the selfie expert, Lizzie, Dave, Emily, me and Bob. The lights gave me green hair and Dave has green on his face. Is he the Grinch? Naw! but it was fun to text Ellie posing that question. LOL.

Come the 25th we are not likely to even open gifts together unless there is a heat wave and we can do that in an open garage. The virus continues to spread and we are not brave enough to take it on! Or should I write foolish enough to challenge it?

World War II Christmas

My Dad, Paul Rush, was in the United States Navy for two Christmases.

My Dad is the third one over with his pants rolled the shortest!

Both 1943 and 1944 he was gone to war as Signalman 3rd class. He died when I was very young, just eleven years old. Found among his belongings was a re-telling of The Night Before Christmas. You will notice a few rhyming challenges, but hey! This was wartime. It took me many years to realize he must have copied it from a soldier friend because it speaks about the camp and a tent. My Dad was on a ship as far as I know!

My father-in-law was enlisted in the United States Army and missed three Christmases of 1943-1945. So I post this in honor of both of them. They spent those Christmas seasons away from loved ones, as do many military personnel today. May we remember them in our prayers.

Here is a scanned copy of one side. Then I will type it out for you.

“The Night Before Christmas”

 It was night before Christmas, and through the camp yard
 Not a creature was stirring – except the poor guards.
 My stocking was tucked in my shoes to save space
 And, besides, my tent doesn’t have a fireplace.
 My friend in his shorts, and I in my shoes
 Had just settled down for a nice tropic snooze.
 When out in the area there arose a great clatter
 That I sprang from my cot to see what was the matter.
 I became so entangled in my mosquito net
 That, if my friend hadn’t helped me, I’d be struggling yet.
 And then, very cautiously I pulled back the flaps
 Half expecting to see a battalion of Japs.
 Just imagine my amazement when I saw instead,
 The famous St. Nicholas, in his suit of bright red.
 He sat in his sled, which was pulled by six Jeeps
 And they bounced along gaily in short bounds and leaps.
 They came to a halt, and away Santa went – 
 And then very suddenly he was there in my tent.
 He was chuckling so merrily that his little fat belly
 Just like in the other poem, was shaking like jelly.
 And then I thought sure that this was a gag
 When I noticed his toy sack was a blue barracks bag!
 But he reached in the bag, and without hesitation
 Turned to my tent mate with a pack of “K” ration;
 And then for me – lucky guy that I am – 
 He dug in again – and came up with Spam
 He followed this quickly with de-hydrated potatoes,
 And then he produced a can of tomatoes.
 And then with the remark he had work to do,
 He raised a plump finger and up he flew.
 I dashed to the tent flap and was able to see
 Him get in his sled as he waved back to me.
  “Away Willys,” “On Ford,” was his cry in the night – 
 And in no time at all he was clear out of sight
 So it was with reluctance I got back in bed
 And thought of the things St. Nicholas had said.
 I’ll still have a laugh when I’m ancient and old
 At the thought of St. Nick sliding down the tent fold.
 That’s all there is to it. The story is through,
 But before I sign off, here’s my wish for you!
 May Your Christmas Be Merry,
 And filled with Good Cheer;
 May You Be Well and Happy
 Through Out the New Year. 

Christmas Homonym Humor

The first year we were married my husband ruined the joy of Christmas gifting for me. He felt every one of his gifts and correctly guessed what was in each one. When he realized my disappointment, he never did that again (at least out loud).

Years later, just before Christmas, his sister came to visit us from out of state. I drove her to the airport for her return flight. When I got home, he came out the door and stated, “I felt your presence!”

I got really angry and almost punched his arm right there in the driveway, until I realized he was talking about me being home, not about his gifts, his presents. Oy yoi yoi!

How are you decorating this year?

Last year I bought these items and Bob laughed. Since we are having no one visit for Christmas this is the only tree I am putting up! If the infection rate continues to skyrocket we will simply be dropping off gifts at doors!

And yep, I added tiny battery operated lights, too!

Do you see Santa there? Kneeling right there at the manger? He knows who is most powerful and sees us at all times.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV2011)  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:10-12 (NIV2011)  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Now for the rest of the Beagle story!

When the teapot whistled and I went to pour the water over the tea I dropped my lap blanket. Lucky decided mine was a really nice blanket.

I brought hers into the office! As I put my blanket back in my chair I was murmuring “Mine! Mine!”

She is content to use hers. Yes, there are times when she seems to fill the role of the Princess.

Recently I placed her pillow against the arm of the sofa instead of horizontally on the sofa.

She tried to make the best of the arrangement. Just could not quite get comfortable. She has yet to figure out how to rearrange pillows!

She looks to me as if she is saying, “Why, oh why did they do this?”

Poor puppy dog! Viagen Pets cites 10 reasons why folks love dogs: loyalty, friendship, therapy, health, unconditional love, protection, selflessness, exercise, forgiveness, and happiness. Bob says all she ever wants is FOOD. I prefer to understand her differently!

I hope there was a beagle at the manger in Bethlehem!