Sunday, December 30, 2007

To date...

They've known each other since 6th grade, have shared classes and hung out during the high school musicals. He's friends, too, with my son; coming over to play video games, watch movies and go sledding. They've all hung out together as a group with their cookie-baking goofiness and home movie-making...

But something happened somewhere along the way. He looks at her differently now, seeing beyond the "buddy" to the beautiful person she is.

Some guys miss it, choosing instead the girls who demand the attention; girls whose beauty is fleeting because it eventually loses its substance. It is the rare teenage boy who truly sees my daughter and understands who she is. She doesn't travel the normal path, but strikes out on her own, standing in her strength and grounded in her ideals.

I give him credit, this young man who stepped across our door tonight in a different light. Because he gets it. And in the middle of his goofy, light-hearted and quirky demeanor, he has reserved a place of respect for my "little girl".

BUT...he still got 'the talk' from me before they left for the movies, and I'll still be waiting for their midnight return!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Savoring Christmas

I love this picture because it is a lingering memento of Christmas. Though probably not "photogentically" perfect, it is memories of past years wrapped in sentimental ornaments, bought for little hearts or made by little hands.

The tree downstairs holds the treasures from my own life: the little felt snowman given to me in kindergarten; a Santa made by my dear friend, Kris; a painted star my mother-in-law gave to me after I admired it so; Hallmark tokens that touched me at different times in my life....all lit by white lights that give the tree one brilliant tone.

But this tree is theirs: a little boy and girl who became teenagers while my back was turned; a tree that sparkles with color because white lights could never capture who they are; a real tree because it is fragrant, lovely.......tradition. Every year they bring out their individual ornament boxes and trim the tree with memories. And every year two new ornaments are added upon the branches and into their hearts to represent a new year....a new Christmas.

This picture I love, too, because in it I see the fun of a Christmas moment: a genuine ornery look; two kids who are not just brother and sister, but best friends. I never tire of looking at them nor of the feeling that comes over me when we share times like these.

The calendar says December 28th. But I pushed pause three days ago because I'm savoring Christmas; holding fast to the magic just a little bit longer...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I don't usually post links on my blog, but if you have about five minutes.....I promise it will be worth it.

My son bought me Josh Groban's new CD for Christmas, knowing how much I enjoy his music. The song, "Thankful" is so beautiful, telling and true. Turn up your sound and close your eyes.....and I suspect it will touch your heart, just as it did mine.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Postal Greetings

Tucked among my keepsakes of old letters and photographs, I came across this Christmas postcard, sent to my great grandmother eighty-two years ago. I love this picture: a cottage tucked cozily among the snow-covered hills with flowered sprigs and colorful birds as its accent. The script on the back is flowing and graceful; the sentiments short, yet sincere.

May this Christmas Season bring you lasting happiness, and may the skies of the New Year be filled with promise, peace and hope.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sharing Christmas

I love Christmas time with its bright lights, mistletoe, carols of peace and scents of kitchen baking. Our internet connection hasn't been working at home for awhile but finally, with the holiday just over the horizon, I am able to share a small part of our world.

There was a late November day when my husband and son climbed 'up on the housetop' to string Christmas lights; their afternoon dotted with warmth and an azure sky. Little did they know that several storms would ensue such as today's blizzard, raging against a steel-gray sky. It was a day set to a slow-paced tempo as unsolicited help climbed the ladder to join them...

My daughter and two of her friends joined Santa (disguised beneath his beard as their classmate, Wes) after an early morning round with the ACT. They murmured Christmas wishes beneath sleepy eyes and taxed minds then began their own shopping for those on their lists...

Late nights have been the norm as finals loomed close, presents were wrapped and oblivious basketball games pursued their harried schedule. Friends spent the night when ice storms stranded them at our house, yet there were always ways to find entertainment! Midnight gigglers hoped and watched for signs that school would be canceled for the day (no such luck...just a two-hour delay)!

Sledding parties in sub-freezing temps and fresh, white powder scooped from drifts for making snow ice cream were part of our white December. Laughter and teasing, music and singing filled the air as plans were made and cold winds blew outside our snug, little home.

Dough was made, chilled and rolled for sugar cookies as four sets of hands cut reindeer, stockings, bells and stars. Though a fresh batch of dough was needed before the final results (!), memories of floured fingers and snatches of cookie dough will fill their hearts in the days to come.

Decorations went up as little trees filled each room: white lights and silver bulbs on the 3-foot white tree, gold spun around greenery with old-fashioned ornaments and memory-filled trimmings that adorned one downstairs. Garland and Santas, snowmen and greenery became commonplace along stairways and doorways as elves poked their faces around every turn.

With days filled to overflowing and nights just too short, we didn't get "the tree" until just last week. Though I love the perfection of the artificial trees, nothing can compete with the aroma and stature of a real tree filling the house. I have never "not" had a live tree. As a child we would cut down cedars from the pasture and throughout my adolescence and into my adulthood, a true evergreen always held the place of honor in our home. This year we were a bit industrious, choosing a tree of great proportions. Even my 6'2" son had to stand on the couch to put on the star! It's berth gives its height great competition and we have picked it up off the floor on more than one occasion after a tumble from the stand! But with its arrival and its presence, it is now officially "Christmas".

The shopping is all but finished and though I am behind on my baking and cards, I am thrilled to have time off from the busy-ness of school to relax and enjoy the beauty of this season.
It was wonderful to wake up today, knowing that there was no place I needed to be but home and nothing that had to be done. There is great comfort and peace in that.

So with just a few gifts to be wrapped I can leisurely catch up with family and friends as I write out my annual greetings. "White Christmas", "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Holiday Inn" are on the agenda for the days ahead, a visit to my Mom and Dad's and friends over for Christmas dinner. With more family coming in a week and more memories to be made, I am more aware than ever of the blessings I've been given. And even though a storm throws its tantrum outside my window, in its absence it will leave a white palette of beauty that will sparkle and shine.

May your days, too, be merry and bright...

Friday, December 14, 2007


Suzy and I have been friends for over six years now; ever since I moved here. Her office is just around the corner from our classroom, literally 10 steps away.
This morning I opened my school email and found this message from her:

"Hey Lori. I was just missing you today. How is your day going?"

We've been emailing back and forth all morning, just to touch base and share our thoughts.
Sometimes these very moments are so needed to brighten a day. Loving thoughts and actions are useless unless shared.
I feel as if I've received an early Christmas gift. Thanks, Suz...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Santa Baby

I have a Santa Claus collection that comes out each year during the holiday season. Carefully, the foam wrapping and tissue paper come off to reveal memories of Christmas past as I think back on cherished moments.

This photograph of my son when he was 3 or 4 sits in a red frame on top of the piano, nestled among several replicas of Jolly Old St. Nick. It always makes me smile, remembering his child laughter ringing through the house as we baked sugar cookies, danced around the Christmas tree and played carols on the piano. Hands down, it's the best of my collection!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

No Time for Sunsets

I miss twilight.

Each new week I look at my calendar and see a list of things that needs to be done. Tonight I took gate money at the Junior High ballgame...and tomorrow I will attend my son's third game this week. Three more games in the days ahead, a music program and a theater practice, performed just for me. Cleaning after school to earn money to stay a little less far behind, laundry, supper, dishes, sleep.

I miss my sunsets and having time to just be. I miss curling up with a book, writing letters and having no place to go.
With Christmas just on the horizon, I feel a bit cheated when I look around at all our lovely decorations, but cannot be home to enjoy them. Schedules are filled to the brim with things that need attending, and I want time to slow down. These days it's not about saying 'no', but rather keeping up with what must be. I feel the strain on all of us, being put on time lines when we're used to having our own moments together.

The weekend is a breath away; I'm anxious for the respite and for a quiet Kansas sunset.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Winter Ball

Last night was our school's Winter Ball; a semi-formal dance held in the commons area of the gymnasium to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Often the kids attend in groups and go out to eat before the festivities so they can have more time to share and laugh together. Originally, my kids and their friends were going to do the same, but with the weather being a little iffy, I volunteered to make them dinner at our house so they could be both safe and save a little money for Christmas shopping.
One of my daughter's dearest friends was missing, however. She went to the hospital Friday morning and had a delayed appendectomy yesterday afternoon. She is a beautiful girl whom my daughter adores...and her presence was sorely missed.

Her boyfriend (the young man in the brown shirt) had just gotten back from the hospital where he took the corsage he had meant to give her that night. His shirt was to match her dress and it's obvious that his heart was not into this night without her.

I am thankful to have kids with a strong judge of character, who choose friends with good hearts and loving spirits. As time slips by, they grow up and the cheerful noises no longer echo through the house, I will miss moments like these when our days were filled with laughter and our home alive with song.