Thursday, December 9, 2010

Of Ceramic Donkeys and Gratitude.

This past Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, Ziggy carried a ceramic donkey through the sanctuary to place it with the creche by the altar table. His friend carried a shepherd. They were so proud and careful, soberly coming down the aisle as the handbells chimed from the balconies surrounding us.

Ziggy then tucked into the pew beside us, and proceeded to do a sight word search in the bulletin insert through the service, choosing to remain with us to "work" and to take communion rather than exiting for the children's worship hour. This does not, of course, mitigate the fact that he lay beneath the pew in front of us on the floor, or that in a loud stage whisper he called to his adult prayer friend who was kneeling at the altar after taking communion. Church with our boy is always a spirited experience, his father's jaw clenching, me smiling at other parents with other young wildlings in nearby pews.

I wept through the service.

Members of the Homeplace community, a home for developmentally disabled adults, played a significant role in the morning's worship. Ruby, who helps in the three year old Sunday School class and therefore has been known to us since first we began to attend Belmont, was both baptised and received as a member of the congregation in an official capacity. It was so incredibly moving and beautiful. I am thankful to Sarah, a lovely high school senior who sat with her parents in front of us, for providing me with a much needed tissue to dawb at my eyes and runny nose. Hamilton read scripture about John the Baptist and both tickled and delighted me with his pauses to be sure we were all listening, and that he was taking his role very seriously.

Our worship leaders were so loving and sensitive and patient. None more so than the remarkable Lanecia, she of the beautiful countenance and face, with a hipster twist. Watching her walk Ruby through serving communion was a wondrous thing. 

Too, I wept, because my husband and I had had words that morning, and because Ziggy threw things at me as I drove to church through the snow flurries, the last straw that caused me to pull off the road and have a bit of a come apart. And because I was feeling sick and congested and raspy in earnest. And remorseful that my come apart had frightened my child, albeit momentarily.

When evening came, I took him to the craft night at the church's community center. "Can you just drop me off, please?" he asked.


I've had the crud for days, though I seem-- at last-- about to round the corner. My voice is still a scratchy rasp, though the congestion is greatly diminished. I think that my family may be glad of my inability to speak much or well.

So what to do? Neti pot. Drink water. Extra rest. Walk with the dog, have sex with my husband (both boost the immune system.)

And for tonight's supper: sweet potato chicken soup with garlic and dill (yum!!) and a pan of Almost Zona's Drop Biscuits.


We're on a spending freeze. Being between jobs and at the end of the year has killed our budget dead. I'll start working for pay again next month, and there'll be student loan money, too. Thank goodness.


I hung the stockings on the banister. "We don't have a fireplace! How will Santa get in?" Ziggy wants to know.


I've yet to write our year end letter, and wonder if I'll really get it done this year. I give myself permission to let it be if I choose....


Another reason for the aforementioned spending freeze is the fact that my debit card has been compromised by someone who has made bogus purchases. Which leads to the cancellation of the card, a filed dispute and a few weeks to get things cleared up and the monies refunded to our account.

If it's not an essential purchase, we shall not be making it. If I haven't already purchased it, if I can't make it or borrow it or trade for it, or somehow pull it together from things already in stock, I won't be getting it for you for Christmas. Or your birthday. Or whatever.

Every once in a bit, it's not bad to simplify. To cut the fat. And to recognize that we have what we need, and much of what we want. And in comparison to much of the world, we are very wealthy indeed.


I have completed my first full semester as a graduate student. Yay, me! Classes attended, projects churned out and turned in. Graded, all but one.


I am thankful. For all of the above.

I pray for patience. For the willingness to forgive where forgiveness is sought. Including that of self. For the presence of mind and body and heart to be with those I love as fully as possible. To lean into now. To be grateful for blessings both small and large.

I am thankful, not just this Thursday, but always.

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