Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Quiet Night

It's one of those crystal cold nights where the stars look like cheap sequins sewn to a black flannel expanse, and just the act of letting the dog out for a break can take your breath away. One of those nights that makes you wonder why anyone in their right mind would have voluntarily agreed to settle in this area 150 years ago. It said 4° on the bank sign 3 hours ago, but you know it hasn't gotten any warmer since then.

Rick is snoring deeply from the other room, which is a sound that can be startling to the uninitiated. Personally, I find it comforting and I sleep best when it is droning in my ear. Lucas gave me a hug when he came in (although I think it had as much to do with his cold fingers as his affection) and headed up to bed. Tasha is spending her New Years' Eve again this year at a house party thrown by a school friend whose Mormon parents are even more vigilant than I about boys and alcohol and such. The dog is dozing belly-up in her kennel, and one of the cats is asleep at my feet.

And so, here comes another new year. A new job for me - or possibly a new career. A graduation for Tasha, and the start of her college life. Another set of adventures for Rick as he travels the continent, bringing communal peace and technical brilliance to generator systems everywhere. And more chances for Lucas to study, travel, and explore the options for his future.

Per aspera ad astra. Onward and upward. Here we go again.

Happy New Year, y'all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm upset again. It's work stuff, so I can't talk about it here, even if it is sucking my freaking soul away in little bitty pieces.
Ahem. Anyway, so go look at something pretty instead.


A scene from the trestle bridge in Shelburne Falls, from my 2004 New England visit. This is just down the mountain from Heath, where my Dad had his farm and where Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer during his summer vacation.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Better, Thanks

Christmas was fine - I'll tell you all about it another time. We made it through the cantata, had a lovely time on the day itself opening presents and playing games as a family group while modeling the tissue crowns from our English "Christmas Crackers," and never set foot outside the entire day. Everyone liked their presents, the puppy was accident-free the entire day, and everyone got along great.

I found out about Wednesday that I was preaching on Sunday, and since this was a significantly shorter lead time than normal I sweated over the sermon on Christmas night and some more on Saturday afternoon. Still, it was completed and well received, and Dad (who previewed it for me) thought it was my best work yet. The text was that part of Luke 2 where Mary & Joseph pack up, go home, and get on with life, and my main theme centered on extending the Christmas spirit into everyday things.

But last night and this morning, peace and harmony did NOT reign in my household, as teenaged emotions and limit-testing behavior suddenly ramped up to a new high. Rick and I spent much of the night grinding our teeth and self-critiquing our abilities as parents and partners, and the residual dissatisfaction did nothing to pump my enthusiasm for another day at the office. Still, I popped out at lunch to see Pam at the salon and get my haircut, which has done wonders for my mood. It seems Pam had a major blow-up with her family this weekend, too - which not only reassures me that my situation is normal, but lets me feel that at least it's not as bad as hers. Then I got the pampering which always comes with a haircut, and we dreamed together some more about how my photography, her salon and her Mary Kay sideline could be combined to our mutual benefit. We're thinking of starting a weight loss club, with the monthly fees split 50/50 with the biggest loser at the end of the year. And 2010 calendars, with each month featuring one of our make-overs from 2009. And then we hugged, and made plans to continue making plans.

That, combined with a tuna melt and a strawberry milk, seem to have done the trick. Maybe I can deal with all this nonsense after all.

Thanks, Pam!