Facing “Black Friday” – A Mercy Mission


I have never been a Day-After-Thanksgiving shopper.  My aversion to this particular event started decades ago when my sister worked in retail and related tales of what it was like from her perspective.


I’ve had friends who make “Black Friday” an all-day, all-out annual event!  Searching for parking spaces, shopping, doing lunch, followed by more shopping, walking and lugging of bags.  Me?  I’m perfectly content to stay home.  Besides, I had a head start, remember?  (See “Halloween – Best Christmas Shopping Day Ever” – October 29).  So, the last thing on my mind Friday morning, was venturing out in public.  Anywhere.  And I could hardly believe it when Hero, who is not a crowd person either, mumbled over his wake-up coffee about going out to find a Christmas tree.  (Artificial, mind you…the story of how we made the switch from real to fake is best saved for another day.)


I wasn’t convinced we needed a different tree.  This didn’t make much sense to Hero, since I was totally ready for a tree update two years ago.  It was thirteen years old, then, and looked more than a bit lame.  We’d put it in our garage sale that summer, but it never sold.  So, you know what we did?  We put it up again the following Christmas.  But it looked awful.  That would be its last vigil in our living room, I purposed.


[I need to explain that in our family, tradition has it that Hero puts up the tree and strings the lights.  That’s his part – which I greatly appreciate – the rest of the tree decorating is up to the remainder of the family.[


So, back to our sorry-looking tree:  After Hero loaded it with lights, I camouflaged it with  every decoration in our vast collection – vintage glass balls from our own childhoods; oh-so-precious felt, clay and popsickle stick ornaments, constructed by our sons in elementary school, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green ball with purple felt mask (so ’80s); glittering garland inherited from parents…you name it, we put it on the tree.  My goal was to load those flat and shapeless branches, and fill in every bare spot, providing a veritable mountain of distracting eye candy.  It sorta worked.


That was the Christmas of 2006.  Summer of ’07, we again put our tree in a garage sale.  It didn’t sell.  We took it to Goodwill.  They wouldn’t take it, either.  So, you know what we did?  We put it up last year, too.


But this time there was a glorious transformation.  It looked beautiful!  And I could not understand why.  After a bit of probing on my part, Hero finally admitted that he’d grown tired of assembling it branch by branch.  And I thought, “It looked ugly last year because he didn’t feel like taking the time to fluff and shape the branches?”

Yep.  After seeing his dad’s two-section, easy assembly, complete-with-lights tree, Hero was disillusioned with our ancient fake fir.


Which brings us to the holiday season of 2008, and this past Friday’s conversation over morning coffee.  Why would we need a new tree when I saw from last Christmas how gorgeous our by-now-vintage tree could look?


The answer in a word – Mercy.  I needed to extend it to Hero.  In all those years of tediously assembling our Christmas tree, not once did I hear him complain.  Nor did he grumble when he disassembled it.  He did that for fifteen years!  Didn’t he deserve for me to get beyond my thrift mentality and cut him some slack if he wanted to get a more convenient tree?  He said none of this; I had to figure it out for myself.  And, I finally got it. 


In minutes, I was dressed, grabbed my purse, was out the door and into my sweet hubby’s pick-up, for my first taste of Day-After-Thanksgiving shopping.




P.S.  All photos are of assembly of this year’s tree – our new, updated model.


  And, they lived happily ever after.

Directions to a Bloggy Giveaway


Nope, it’s not me this time.  It’s Michelle, at This One’s For The Girls.  http://thisonesforthegirls.wordpress.com/  She’s posted a review of my book “Secrets About Guys (that shouldn’t be secret),” and is giving away a free copy!  If you haven’t met her yet, you really need to drop in and get acquainted with this beautiful mother of five.  (Wait til you see the adorable pics of her and her hubby – too sweet.  You just know they’re in love.)  And while you’re there, remember to sign up for her giveaway.

Thanksgiving – Preserving Apple Pie



The best way to preserve Apple Pie is with a camera.  This is the pie I made this afternoon.  It’s baked with Harralsons we brought home and froze, after our trip to the orchards in early fall (see Oct. 21 – Sunrise Apple Orchard Trip – Part II).  I took the photo because I want the pie to last.  It took at least an hour to make this masterpiece (not counting baking time), and it’s gonna disappear at our Thanksgiving Dinner in 10 minutes or less.  So, I thought I’d preserve it for just a little while longer.  I’m sure you other holiday cooks and bakers can relate.





Thanksgiving – 10 Reasons to Give Thanks


Yesterday, my grown son (22) tore up his knee playing touch football with a bunch of youth in the church parking lot.  I spent most of the afternoon and part of Sunday evening in the ER with him.  He’s home now, in a leg brace, taking pain meds and getting around on crutches.  (no college classes or work for him today.)  We won’t know for several days whether or not there’s damage to his ACL; we have to wait until the swelling goes down before they can do an MRI.  (The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) lies deep within the knee joint. )


On the way home from the hospital yesterday, and while I transported him to a class this evening, I was quite astonished to catch myself mentally listing things for which I am thankful.  I didn’t know I had it in me, but here’s what was going through my head…(in no particular order).


1.)  I’m so thankful we have access to a hospital.   

2.) I’m thankful for the support and medical staff there. 

3.)  I’m thankful I have a car to get to the hospital.

4.)  And that gas is available for my car.

5.)  And that I am able to pay for fuel.

6.) I’m thankful that pain medication exists.

7.)  And that I have access to it. 

7.)  That we already have a pair of crutches in the garage. 

8.)  I’m thankful for my cell phone, to correspond with my husband, who is out of town, so that I don’t have to deal with this alone.       

9.)  I’m thankful to have a son – to worry about.

10.)  I’m thankful to have a Heavenly Father who hears prayer.


I could easily expound on these points.  So many people in the world cannot list these things because they do not have them.  In the midst of trials, there truly are things for which we can be thankful.  But it sure surprised me to discover that this truth really is sprouting in my heart.  I’m so thankful!

Feeling Overwhelmed?



Don’t worry about the whole task.  Just take it one step at a time.  If you need to stop along the way, give yourself permission.  Rest.  Cry if you must.  Then, take the next step.  And the next.  God is with you all the way.  His grace is enough…His strength is made perfect in weakness…  II Corinthians 12:9 


Denying Winter – Chap. 2


Happy Saturday.  Well, this is day number 61 of my denial of winter.  With my optimistic, sunny-side-up, glass-half-full kind of mentality, though, I shall instead proclaim that it’s Day Number Sixty-one of glorious Autumn!  I’m enjoying it immensely.  Love cooking  them cozy comfort foods.  And raking’s getting easier.


For Mothers of Boys – And Brides – The Moral


Well, I promised the moral of “For Mothers of Boys – And Young Brides,” (November 5th), so here we go…  (You’ll want to read that first, if you haven’t yet…)  


The “Daydream” surely was a sneak peek into your heart as a mother of a son.  But, I have a confession.   It was also a sacred look into your mother-in-law’s heart!   That’s right.  It was meant to give you a deeper understanding of your husband’s mother.  


Every bride starts out with the same longing to build a strong, healthy, happy family with the guy of her dreams.  That’s your dream, isn’t it?  But have you ever stopped to consider that your husband’s mother had those same goals that you have now?  That she was also a bride in love with her husband and with dreams for her children?  Once upon a time, she was in your shoes.  And, if you’re a mother right now, some day you will be in hers.  Yes, you are, right now, a mother-in-law-to-be.  


What kind will you be?


What kind of daughter-in-law are you now? 


Think of how much you adore your son.  You desire the very best for him.  You’re sacrificing and investing your very life in the welfare of your children; everything revolves around them.  Can you imagine how it will feel, then, when the day finally comes that a young lady arrives on the scene who absolutely captivates your son?  When he is hopelessly smitten?  Will this girl, who holds his heart, be justified in calling him a “Mama’s boy” if he simply continues to show you love and respect?  Have you given thought to how it will feel to be treated as though you’re an intruder?  (What?  Intruding in something into which you’ve poured the best years of your life?)


In my book, “Secrets About Guys (that shouldn’t be secret),”  I”ve devoted a whole chapter to this topic.  I’m not saying there’s no such thing as a meddling mother-in-law.  (Heavens!  I know one bride whose mother-in-law insisted on accompanying the newlyweds on their honeymoon!) 


I just want to encourage you to sow good seeds for your future.  The Scriptural law of Sowing and Reaping is universal.  If you wish to have your heart intact when your children marry, now is the ideal time to cultivate love and understanding with your husband’s mother.  Treat her the way you will want to be treated by the girl who captivates your son.   


There are lots of tips for this in my book.  I suppose I should apologize for that last sentence as shameless promotion  🙂  but I’m not going to because, when we’re in harmony with our in-laws, everyone benefits.  It is so worth the effort.  And, one day, when it is your harvest time, you will be so thankful for making the effort to sow seeds of love.