Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's All Good

I have been in a whirlwind of activity since my last posting. It is all good.

Last Friday I took the day off. In the morning I walked in the robing ceremony for Texas Wesleyan. We got to choose a professor who showed support during our college journey. I chose Dr Lisa Hensley. Dr Hensley is an undergrad psych professor who taught our graduate lifespan development course. That was my first semester in grad school, and she was tough! She showed me a particular kindness that semester, a kindness I will never forget. She treated me like a human being during a very trying time. She modeled good counseling behavior.

In the evening I walked in the commencement exercises. It was all kinds of special to sit with my counseling compadres. The speaker said that he has never remembered a single commencement speech. Then he proceeded to make all the graduates stand up and do the hokey pokey. I can honestly say that I will remember his commencement speech.

My beautiful sister, Diane, and her husband and son were in town for graduation. I was thrilled that they were able to attend. They gave me a gorgeous angel from the Jim Shores Heartwood Creek collection. (I love that stuff - I have two Tinkerbells from his collection on my desk at work.) It stands about two feet tall! I was really touched by their generosity. I received other graduation gifts in the mail as well, although I certainly didn't expect any. Can't believe how loved I am!

Saturday was a choir concert for the Not-So-Little One and a dress rehearsal for the chancel choir. Both were a big success. Between Sunday morning services and the Christmas cantata, my North Texas family threw me a graduation party. I got to see some old friends and introduce them to some new ones. And - more presents. Again, who knew I was so loved?!

The cantata was everything I had hoped for. The youth who performed the speaking parts were terrific. The choir sang its best ever. I got two remarkable comments: from a 90-year-old woman, "I was able to hear and understand every single word," and from the sound man, "It takes a very talented director and teacher to make 8 people sound like 30." I was very pleased. And I was so glad it was over!

Yesterday I watched my employee and close friend BB be recognized with his peers as an Employee of the Year at our agency. The 10 of them are being sent on a cruise. I was very proud of him. It is unlikely that I will ever be bestowed such a distinction, but I don't mind. My gift to the agency is my ability to hire well. The staff I have hired over the years have always performed well, represented the agency well, and made me look very good. That is gratifying to me.

Mikel and the girls and I are heading south in the motorhome next week, and I will not have access to the internet. So don't be surprised not to hear from me for a couple of weeks. I will update when we get back. If I know my girls, there will be plenty of fodder for a humorous post.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my loves. May you receive your every hearts' desires and begin your new year in peace, grace, faith, and love.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Left Out

You have these two friends. You love them dearly. One of them you have known for years and the other is new and shiny. One day you all find yourselves in the same place at the same time, and your two friends get to know one another. Sometime later you realize that they have really gotten know one another well. They spend time together chatting and laughing - without you. They confide in one another - not in you. They start to hang out together - without you. They do stuff together - stuff that you aren't good at. They have a lot in common - things they do not have in common with you. They are younger and hipper and smarter than you, and their conversations seem out of your reach at times. They seem really happy when they are around one another. And you find that you are not feeling so happy at all.

You know that you should be happy that you were instrumental in helping two people find one another, that you brought two people together in friendship. After all, one cannot have too many friends. You know that a mature and healthy individual would either find a way to join in the fun or wish them well and move on. Instead you hang back and feel like a third wheel. You feel left out.

You're not sure which is worse - feeling like your long time companion has replaced you with a new toy or feeling like your new friend has already grown bored with you. At times you regret ever introducing them. You are reminded of all the times you weren't interesting enough or pretty enough or smart enough or funny enough. Of all the times you just weren't enough.

It's no one's fault, really. No one can help who they like. No one means for this sort of thing to happen. You can't say anything to anyone, because then you would be acting like a baby. No one likes it when grownups act like babies. So you give in to jealousy and resentment and loneliness. You keep it to yourself and hope that it will pass soon. And you vow to keep all of your friends away from one another from now on.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I promised a story about our former Christmas tree.

We adopted an artificial tree from my sister several years ago, and we enjoyed it very much. One year I asked Mikel to wrap lights around every branch so that there would be lots of twinkling white to reflect off the glass ornaments. He was a real trooper - he wound and rewound lights until every branch was covered. His arms were bloodied from the branches, but he managed to keep the cursing to a bare minimum. I was delighted with the results.

When it came time to put away the Christmas decorations, Mikel decided that he didn't want to repeat the lighting process, so he laid the tree on its side on the floor and wrapped it up with a white sheet and rope. I helped him carry it up to the attic to store until the next year. Something about it amused me, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Until the following December.

December came back around, and Mikel emerged from the attic with what looked like a shrouded corpse on his shoulder, ends bobbing as he descended the staircase. I was struck with a serious case of the giggles. It was the cadaver from that crazy movie Weekend at Bernie's! We took to calling the tree Bernie, and he resided in the attic for years, appearing like the Ghost of Christmas Presents.

Bernie began to go bald last year, leaving more needles on the carpet than any cut tree ever did. Unlike my favorite scene from the film, we didn't have a green plastic toupee to staple onto the top, so we lovingly set Bernie out at the curb in hopes he would find a new family to care for him. He did. We miss him and wish him well. His replacement came home in a box.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Brain Dead

It is a busy time of year for everyone. Here's what I have on the agenda:
  • sing at a funeral
  • finish Christmas decorations
  • finish Christmas shopping*
  • send Christmas cards
  • RSVP to Christmas parties
  • attend my daughters' dance performances
  • attend my daughter's choir concerts
  • finish and teach choreography for Children's' Choir Christmas program
  • design and print programs for Children's Choir Christmas program
  • design and print programs for Chancel Choir Christmas Cantata
  • direct rehearsals for above Christmas programs
  • direct above Christmas programs
  • attend Robing Ceremony and Graduation Ceremony!!!
  • attend party in my honor (how cool is that?)
  • study for the board exam
  • see clients
  • lead group
  • schedule voice students for after holiday
  • shop for a baby shower
  • practice solo for chapel and for Christmas Eve
  • pack for trip

Here's what I'd like to get done but most likely won't:

  • sewing my daughters' Christmas dresses (sorry, girls!)
  • wrapping gifts - Mikel does that, and he is great at it!
  • cooking
  • getting the dogs groomed
  • seeing The Nutcracker
  • sleeping

* A story about Christmas shopping. We went to the toy store. We listened to a really knowledgeable fellow talk for 40 minutes about video games, about which we know literally nothing. We had hoped to avoid ever having to know anything about video games, but alas our daughters have other ideas. We weren't able to make a decision at that moment, so we thanked the fellow and walked away while he warned us that we had better make a purchase before December 1st or everything would be sold out. (He wasn't kidding. We have since made a purchase, but it took some searching.)

Then we walked over to the Thomas the Tank Engine section of the store to pick out something for my nephew. I expected a couple of shelves of cutesy blue trains and some track. In the name of all that is good and Holy! Do you know how much Thomas the Tank Engine stuff there is? Have you seen the choices, the variety, the sizes, the colors, the prices?! It took us 30 minutes to choose something, and as we walked away we said to one another, "Well, I guess his parents will hate us for starting this madness...."

After that, we went to buy a Christmas tree. (I will post another entry about our old tree soon.) For the love of doughnuts! Have you seen how many different types of artificial trees there are? Did you know they are rated by number of points, number of lights, life-expectancy of wiring, color, type of material used? It's no longer just height and width anymore, folks. We chose a beautiful 7.5' blue spruce wannabe. The cats think it is delicious.

And everything I said in the above two paragraphs applies to bicycles, too, by the way. Great God in Heaven! Have you shopped for bicycles lately? The colors, the wheel size, the components, the materials used, the accessories... I suppose it all matters to someone, but I dreamed of Thomas and his friends on bicycles weaving through forests of brightly lit trees while shooting at aliens with ray guns.... Okay, okay, not really...............

I could barely remember my name the next morning. I'm pretty sure I've suffered an aneurysm.