Sunday, December 28, 2014

Wearing a New Hat For a New Year

We weren't visited by angels Christmas Eve, but it was close. Our two angelic granddaughters, accompanied by their mom and dad, came over to share a supper and gift-opening time with us. I love planning and preparing a meal for more than just Dean and I, so that was a special treat for me. Even if it was just "haystacks", or "walking tacos", as some call them.

Our entertaining schedule has been light for many years now since Dean's accident. Tight finances, coupled with Dean's low capacity for crowds and distractions, has put our hospitality ministry on hold. So, I was really excited about having family over that night. There weren't a whole lot of gifts to open, but enough to whet the kids' appetites for Santa's gifts the next day.

And speaking of appetites, Dean's been having a raging one recently. For Christmas he got some potato chips, two bags of M&Ms, and chewing gum from the granddaughters. We all (except me) thought he'd make them last, since I mostly try to keep him away from calorie-loaded treats. But they were all gone by the end of Christmas Day. (Except for the gum...because he couldn't remember where he stashed it.)

The one gift he got that night that will last was the new cowboy hat they gave him. It is a great improvement over the old battered one he was wearing.

Christmas, coming right before the New Year, is the perfect time for replacing the old with the new.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." II Corinthians 5:17

May we all look forward to a New Year in Christ.

He's still not ready to retire the old hat, however. Guess I can't blame him--looks like it's got some history!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Following His Directions

The light snow we got last night and this morning set my mood for some Christmas baking for the neighbors while Dean was gone to his day program. Actually, I had this baking scheduled anyway for today, but the snow just made it seem more appropriate to the season.

I ended up making three batches of fudge, only two of them were planned. They were very easy recipes with simple ingredients (my two criteria for baking and/or cooking these days). First some chocolate fudge (first time using the microwave method), and then I made some peanut butter fudge, using the stove. The peanut butter fudge set up so well, compared to the chocolate one, that I decided to do a makeover with the second bag of chocolate chips I had on hand, with much better results.

It was my own careless disregard of following the exact directions the first time that caused the first fudge failure. And although the second one wasn't as firm as the peanut butter variety, I was much more pleased with the final product.

This was a reminder to me of the wisdom of following God's exact directions when it comes to my life. The closer I follow His recipe, the more satisfying will be the outcome.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Birthday "Boy"

This has been an unusual birthday year for Dean. Number one, he admits that he doesn't know when he's looked forward to his birthday so much (on December 4). For months now, he has been counting the months, then days, then even hours, reminding all his family and friends that it was getting close. And it's not even a big-zero event yet (waiting for that one next year--the big 7-0).

Not surprisingly he woke up at three in the morning on the day of his birthday and I heard him softly singing "Happy Birthday" to himself! It certainly left me wondering what's come over this man. Is it just part of his dementia?

When I mentioned that perhaps he was experiencing a second childhood and reliving what a birthday felt like when he was a kid, he said that his birthday was recognized growing up, but as he looks back on it, it probably was rather combined with Christmas.

Sensing his enthusiasm now though I made sure I baked him a cake from scratch. One of his favorites, a carrot cake. I was glad his birthday came on a day he attended Easterday, his day program, so he was able to share the cake with the other clients there (almost like having a party).

The night before, I showed him my present. A new quilted flannel shirt that he was really needing to keep warm (a size larger than last year's, and it's almost impossible to get him to wear a coat these days.) I could tell he was anxious to show it off to his friends the next day.

After he came home from the day program on his birthday, I took him out to eat at a Mexican restaurant he's been wanting to try. My daughter and our two granddaughters topped his day off by surprising him when we got home with a visit that included a beautiful neck scarf, a candy bar, some M&Ms, and homemade cards and pictures.

To make the day even more special, my sister called him that night and he gave her a minute-by-minute account of his special birthday. I was amazed at the childlike nature of his birthday enjoyment.

Seeing the difference in his birthday enthusiasm this year made me stop and think about my looking forward to the Second Coming. Am I as anxious for that event as I should be? Wouldn't Jesus love to see a little more childlike excitement on my part in looking forward to it?

Christmas is nice for celebrating Christ's birth, but shouldn't the Second Coming be with the same holiday spirit? I wouldn't want God to feel shortchanged and not get the celebration that He deserves.

His new shirt (with hoodie)!