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Saturday, December 04, 2010

A Taste of Heaven

Feast of St. Nicholas Party

Today we had a party in honor of St. Nicholas at Mater Dei Catholic Church in Irving, TX. In addition to fun and games, there were crafts to do and football for the older boys. There was an opportunity to sell homemade crafts, and so the children worked to put together some items to sell. Here is the table set up:

One of Carolyn's sisters stopped by and rearranged the table so it looked more appealing; I forgot to take a picture of it. It really did look better after she moved all the stuff about.

Once again, we sold a few of our Christmas tree ornaments shaped like Texas. We used genuine barbed wire taken from our land, and then bent it around a form so it looks like the Lone Star State. We then added some felt and little doodads one can buy at a craft store.

One of the boys made cinnamon buns smothered in creamy icing. They were a big hit. I told the children to not worry if they did not sell, because I knew they would be great for Sunday breakfast.

Sugar coated pecans are another of our favorites. Our pecan trees are not producing yet, so we have to buy them at the store and then glaze them.

These are blueberry muffins made with blueberries picked at a farm in East Texas. They are delicious, but I think they may have had too much wrapping around them to see how good they look.

All the children pitched in to make little sleighs out of candy cane, chocolate bars, tape, and ribbon. I taped one on top of the toy cash register which worked just fine as a real place to hold our cash.

In the afternoon, there were train rides for the little children. Here is Bernard, getting ready to take a trip:

...and here he is, returning from a trip:

Random Christmas Thought:

I wonder if one day the song 'Christmas Wrapping' by the Waitresses will one day be thought of in the same light as Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas.'

A Christmas-Type Story

I had to detain the little children in my bedroom/office while things were going on in another part of the house. While they were all sitting around, complaining to me, I put on the 'Christmas' songs on my computer's iTunes. To mix things up a bit, I had the settings on 'Random.' A long and beautiful Gregorian chant segued into Alvin and the Chipmunks singing 'Christmas Don't Be Late.'

I took this opportunity to relate to the children the amazing story behind the man who 'discovered' the Chipmunks. It is a tribute to the patience and endurance of one man, and the triumph which comes from sticking with what you know is right. In case you do not know his story, I shall tell it to you. Perhaps it will one day become a Christmas Classic.

A long time ago, a man decided to train some chipmunks. He started by locating a large population of chipmunks in a park in a large metropolitan area. He rented an office nearby, and invested in a huge supply of circus peanuts. The next day, he surveyed the park, looking for the best locations for observing these rambunctious little creatures.

He wanted to become the Jane Goodall of chipmunks.

The first day, he set out with a bag of peanuts and a half liter bottle of Diet Coke. He spent the day pitching circus peanuts at any chipmunk which trotted in front of him. He even ate some of the peanuts himself. None of the chipmunks touched the nuts. The rest of the first week was the same, except that occasionally he would drink Diet Dr. Pepper instead of Diet Coke. None of the chipmunks would touch the peanuts. He was beginning to wonder if he should have invested in some other types of nut when it occurred to him that all of the nuts from the previous day had been cleared away. It gave him hope, and courage to persevere in the face of overwhelming odds. He would succeed!

After a few months consisting of small successes, devestating setbacks, and a nasty letter from his credit card company, he had a breakthrough. On that day, a solitary chipmunk came out from behind a tree and fled with one of the macadamia nuts he was trying out that day. The next day, the chipmunk loitered a few moments before running up the nearest tree. After two months, the chipmunk had progressed to the point where it stood still, watching him, before running away. "I've got him," the man said.

After about six months, he got the chipmunks to the point where they would follow him anywhere. At this point, he switched gears and started to teach the chipmunks to talk. The patience he demonstrated while tutoring these little woodland creatures was truly inspirational, but it was nothing compared to the accomplishment of teaching the chipmunks to sing. Here he outdid himself, as he discovered that chipmunks have a natural ear for rhythm and melody.

After several years, and lots of generations of chipmunks, he had a chorus of animals which could rival any human choir. More importantly, he had a trio of chipmunks who could harmonize better than any other singing group other than ABBA. This trio consisted of the brother chipmunks Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

I would have told my children more about the discovery of the Chipmunks, but they were allowed to roam the house at will again, and most of them left. Perhaps some other day.....

About that taste of Heaven:

Imagine talking to your wife while shopping at Costco on a Friday afternoon. You have some of the children with you, and y'all are doing the biweekly Costco run to restock the pantry and freezer. The list is almost done, and the toddler has just started to spin in place in his strapped-in seat in the cart. You hang up with the Missus and let the toddler down to stretch his legs. He immediately takes off, and you order one of his brothers to tail him but not bring him down. He needs to burn off some energy.

As you straighten up, you are aware that your back is sore.

Just then, you see her. About one hundred feet away, making her way through the tables covered with discount winter fashion deals, is the most beautiful woman in the world. For you, she has the face and smile which brightens your day whenever you see her. Her big brown eyes connect with yours even at that distance, and even with your poor vision you can see that her smile has broadened upon seeing you. You are smiling as well, and all you want is to be next to her. This is the woman who has made Heaven on earth for you for the last twenty-one-plus years.

And to think that you just hung up the phone with her....

Here Bernard gets his teeth brushed:

1 comment:

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

great post

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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