Tuesday, The 14th

What a day! It’s been a little crazy. Lots going on. Meeting at the Post this morning, stopped at the printer’s (not for me, for the Post), stopped at the Humane Society for verification of Lexie’s Rabies Shots for her new license. Then, a stop at JoAnn’s Craft and Fabric store. It’s been forever since I’ve been there. Totally remodeled, I felt like a fish out of water. The Humane Society was all remodeled, too.

I felt like I was a visitor from a strange land. I’ve come to realize in the last few days I might need to get out more. Seriously. I need to leave the house more and mix with people. Have I become an introvert? I’m not sure about that. I’m just so contented at home. Are you? Or would you rather be out and about?

Another weird thing that happened twice today. Since before Christmas, the Babe and I switched vehicles. I previously drove the Passport, he drove the Ridgeline Truck. He has too many miles on the Ridgeline, so he’s driving my car, since it has low miles on it, and 5K more allowed per year. Turning in the truck could be very costly when the lease ends. I don’t like some of the things about the truck, it’s harder for me to get the depth perception straight, but it takes practice.

As I went into the fabric store, a man standing outside asked me how I liked the Ridgeline. What?? That’s a new on. What’s the opposite of a chick magnet? Maybe it’s the new way to meet people. Huh. But wait, there’s more! I went to top off the gas before it gets colder again, and a man came up to me, asking me if I was an Army Veteran? The Babe has Veterans license Plates, so it was a valid question. He was a Marine for 12 years, and a nice man. People really are basically good, and they are neighborly. I need to get out more.

The Christmas tree is officially down, tomorrow I will finish putting things in their proper places and be finished for last year. More necessary papers for filing Income Tax, that will be the next big thing for our household.

I have a new illustrator who I’m sure will do just fine. She’s a busy young woman, and I can’t wait to see what she can do. A soft target date to publish my first kid book is May 22. I’ll explain more as we go along. In the next few weeks, I’ll unveil new business cards, an additional page on my website, and maybe an additional FB page for kid books. Stay tuned! Progress!

Thanks for checking in today, we’ll see you tomorrow!

Just a Few More Wake Ups!

Who among us doesn’t remember the excitement we would have before Christmas? Those last few nights of knowing it was only so many more days until we could wake up and see what Santa left for us? We didn’t get a ton of things, but it was thrilling to wait at the top of the stairs, waiting for everyone to go to the bathroom and wash their hands. It was unnerving! Hurry up! Let’s go! We’d run downstairs, and all sit in a spot.

Dad always had on a nice pair of dress pants, and a white shirt and tie. He worked all night the evening before; he went to Mass on the way home. He helped Mom finish up the display Santa left, and he’d sit patiently while we were opening gifts, one at a time, in order of the circle. The littlest kid went first, then the oldest, then Mom and Dad. Then youngest kid again. Once that was all finished, Dad would go upstairs to go to sleep for a few hours. Mom would be cooking, we’d play, walk to Mass at St. Bridget’s, and be quiet so Dad could sleep. Dad would get up by about 2 or 3, we’d eat dinner (always another turkey), have dessert, and Dad got his thermos of coffee ready for work again that night. Then he’d leave for work again.

Although our Christmas didn’t resemble anyone’s we knew, it was normal to us. We’re all very different today, Mom still decorates like crazy, I do a little more sanely, and cookies for neighbors and friends are always in order. This year, I’m baking tomorrow and the next day, I believe. It doesn’t have to rival Mom’s record of 165 dozen (Yes, I said DOZEN!) cookies, because it means love, no matter the quantity. Our nice neighbors will get some delivered by the Babe!


My conundrum of the last couple days is solved. I told you about receiving an envelope in the mail Friday. Well, read the backstory here and here, too. (Three days blogs here; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). Now you’re up to date. Until later last evening.

Enter my only girl cousin on the Jewell side of the family: Jilla Jewell Arthur. Jilla and her husband David retired to Minnesota to be nearer their kids and grandkids. These two were teachers in the Omaha Public School System, and are encouraging my writing. Thanks, guys! Anyway, Jilla sent a note telling me it was her who sent the calendar. She recalled a blog where I talked about Dad’s business, and I was so tickled! I knew it had to be from a family member; she was one of the remaining suspects, and bless her heart. She fessed up, and here we are! I knew my most excellent investigative questions and observations would force a confession from someone. HA!

It was such a sweet thing to do during this season of love. My adult cousins on both sides of the family are such good people. I’m so lucky to have them all, they’re all different and all talented, loving people. My brothers and I come from good stock! Thanks, Jilla!

What did I do today? Decorated some more. It takes me a lot longer, but here we are. A bunch of shots to give you a feel for Raabe Ranch, decking the halls, 2021.

I’ve shared this Christmas struggle I’ve dealt with this year to heal myself. I know I’m not the only person who has them. But I also have remembered the joys I’ve had on Christmases past, and shared with you many of those memories by picturing the ornaments and my feelings as I’ve decorated the tree this year. It’s helped me heal. Maybe it’s helped you or at least encouraged you to enjoy your decorations this year; or baking a certain cookie. It can even be purchased baked goods. It doesn’t matter, home made or not. It’s still a Christmas memory. Please, salvage your good memories this year. They help you get through the special days. You may feel better after you remember the memories and vow to make new ones this year. And next year.

The new door wreath is from the Pioneer Woman Collection at Walmart. This is a perfect wreath for us; I have a collection of her dishes, glassware, and I’ve named our large lot “Raabe Ranch.” It speaks loudly of my present life; the life with the Babe; our wonderful present and future. That’s where we all need to look. Our present. Our future. It will be as good as we make it. Have a sparkly evening. And I’ll see you tomorrow. Be careful out there!

Thankful Thursday

This is a joyful season, it celebrates the birth of Jesus, we have celebrations with family and friends. We have two family friends who won’t be joining in the celebrations this year; tonight we attended visitations for a young man whom the Babe has known since he was a little boy, a man with a little boy who passed away last week. The other visitation was the wife of a man who worked for the Babe; they have a large family, she had cancer, was given six months, and lasted only six days. Oh dear. Both terribly sad.

Unfortunately, holiday season or not, life continues being played out every day of each year. People are born and people will die. Calendar be damned. The year my father died of cancer, it was so hard to be checked out at the grocery store; checkers don’t know what your family may be going through. They would ask about Thanksgiving, I’d make something up. Of course, Dad was in the hospital, and Mom came over to eat with the kids and me. Then she went back to the hospital. Dad died shortly after that, on December 7. Day of Infamy.

My heart hurts for people who have loss of life from disease, pandemic, cancer, or heart attack during these holidays. It’s hard. It’s hard to continue shopping and wrapping and decorating and baking and having joy in our hearts. My family lost our Grandpa on Christmas Eve, 1964, when I was twelve years old. What a shock. I remember hearing Mom cry late at night several days later. She never showed emotion or talked about it. But I heard her sobbing and couldn’t do anything about it. She’s never been one to want you to hug her to comfort her. She pushes you away and insists “I’m fine! ” And even though you’re only twelve, you know she isn’t.

I remember after that, sometimes we’d take Grandma to Sunday Mass since she didn’t drive. I also remember her at Grandpa’s grave at the cemetery, commenting while looking at her name on their joint headstone, “Just put this year on it. I know I won’t live beyond this year.” No one talked about it, as kids we weren’t to comment on adult matters, but it affected us. Grandma got a driver’s license, car, job, and a new life. She worked at the Admissions Office of a Hospital, and as a Housekeeper for several priests. She loved cooking for them. They loved her.

She would have never traveled to Italy with one of her daughters if Grandpa hadn’t died. She went to Vegas with another daughter. She loved becoming a great grandma, and loved on those babies. Part of her grief moved her forward to a different life than the one she had with Grandpa. Mom became a Docent at our Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo for 30 years after Dad died. She hand fed elephants, rocked a baby gorilla and orangutan, and eventually had a Snow Leopard named after her: When you see Rosie at the Zoo, know she’s named after my mom. What an honor!

Despite these sad losses at this time of year, I hope the survivors of those lost know there is still a lot of life to live. There is an entirely different life ahead of them, one they may have not experienced if not for what they’re experiencing right now. It isn’t meant to sound harsh or uncaring. It’s meant to offer a shred of hope and light at this difficult time. It’s so hard. And life has to go on.

My prayer for all of you is you don’t experience this loss at this time of year. If you do, it takes a long time to heal. That said, it does heal. Life can be happy again. Tomorrow, we have a funeral to attend. And offer our love to our friends. Stay safe, and we’ll see each other tomorrow.

Saturday and Sunday! WOW!

What a great day Saturday! I shared a table at the Holiday Market at the VFW Post 2503 with info for Guitars for Vets. I purchased a supply of Nebraska Writers Guilds 5th Anthologies to sell. I made just a couple dollars on each sale, but I got a real kick out of doing it. We were warned the price would increase by December 11. When I purchased my 24 books, they were $12.99 each. I just checked Amazon, and the price increased to $18.99. I’ve sold eleven books already, and am so excited. Here’s a link to Amazon, in case you’d like to order directly from them.

Sunday, I had another occasion to spend with some cousins and their families at a baby shower. My cousins are expecting their first grandchild in February, 2022. What a happy, happy event in their near future. The whole family is Gaga over the little miss already. As it should be. I cannot wait to see photos and to hold her. Until then, what a fun time. And the cookies here reflect the baby woodland nursery theme. Simply adorable!

Cuteness Overload!

As I’m writing this early Monday morning, I’m saddened by the devastation in Illinois, Kentucky, and other places with the deadly tornadoes. Those poor people. Events like this show the absolute power nature has to turn our lives upside down while others are unaffected during the same moments. When we live our lives unscathed, we know there, but by the grace of God, go I. It could be any of us, it could happen at any time.

This is the true test of a positive person. First, it’s important to be grateful for our daily good fortune. Some may question, “How can God allow things like this to happen?” I have no answer for that. I am a mere mortal, and have no right to question God, nor try to understand His way. Perhaps it’s a test for the rest of us, to see how generous we can be in helping rebuild these communities, to see how much we can pray, see how we react and treat each other. This season of love, we need to be more and do more in the true spirit of giving, presence, and attitude.

A meme I saw the other day was perfect: “The First Christmas wasn’t perfect; what makes us think ours should be.” Don’t let Pinterest make you feel less; don’t let Social Media make you feel as if you should do more tablescapes and backyard harvest creations. No, your toddlers don’t care. Your teenagers don’t care. Don’t be pressured into thinking there is success in these excesses. Your spouses would rather have you feeling calm and collected than decorated to the hilt. Makes you reevaluate, doesn’t it?

Blood donations, searching and rescuing for family pets, feeding people where they shelter in place, it all matters. It all helps. I know as we speak, there are Church Quilt groups who are cutting, layering, and sewing or tying quilts to give to people who have lost everything. There are Red Cross groups all over the nation, collecting blood, blankets, money, clothing, and water.

Maybe acquire a few less things for storage through the years and use annually. Do we need all that? Probably not. Sometimes we need to struggle with the sentiment and see if these things make sense anymore. Many of my decorations were acquired over the years. Some make me happy with the memories. I’ll keep them for a bit. Not forever. The Babe is all for getting rid of everything. He’s not a fan of Christmas. I am, but have struggled over the past few years.

For all this man has done for me and taught me about love, he made me understand I overdid with gifts and my kids. And him. Now, we only do gifts for the grandkids. We truly can buy anything we want during the year. It would be nice to have a gift to open, but it’s really about what’s in your heart. It’s about the love of the Christ child and God’s love for us. Don’t lose that focus. It’s easy to, but He’s always there. If it’s hard to find Him in our lives, it’s because we’re not focused on Him.

As you work through the days we have left before Christmas, keep in mind what we are here for. Don’t let the News cycles concentrating on disasters and negativity keep you down and make you stay there. Do something positive to help the folks who are less fortunate and have come upon hard times. It happens for all of us at some times. We need to remain positive. It’s the only way to keep sane.

It’s true people never speak from their deathbeds they wish they could have worked more. A friend of ours is in town to help bury his son, who passed this week, possibly from COVID. So very sad. Young and healthy, life on track, and just had a baby and plans for marriage. Our heart goes out to them all. Life is way too short. See you tomorrow.

Yesterday . . . and Today

It was a good day yesterday. And it was a fantastic night at Yesterday and Today. The Babe and I have seen this interactive Beatles experience every year since I think 2014. No two shows have ever been the same, since the requests submitted by the audience drive the set list. What a very creative and clever idea. And every year, it seems as if the McGuigan brothers cannot top what they’ve just done. You even get a lovely parting gift with this show.

That challenge is always accepted by Billy, Ryan, and Matthew. Their talent and performance pays tribute to their departed Dad, who died when they were pretty young. In fact, he was pretty young; 42. They learned Beatles songs as toddlers and now make a living performing those songs. Not impersonation, but real guys singing music their Dad loved. It’s a tender tribute that now follows into the next generation. Billy’s son Ciaran is an already accomplished guitarist while not even in high school yet. Watch out, Omaha! There’s some upcoming talent here. Think Clapton. Seriously.

Other band changes include adding horns and strings; most recordings from that fantastic era included these instruments. Why not on stage with the guys who do the Beatles justice, each and every time they pick up their instruments and sing? These guys are the Kings of “Why Not?”

Last year, Ryan made quite the theatrical entrance while performing, “I Am the Walrus,” complete with a gas mask. This year, he has a cool hooded crocheted sweater he wore over his John Lennon style “New York City” t-shirt. Ryan, did someone make it for you? It was pretty cool. Only you could carry it off, too. You can tell he’s an actor at heart. He’s a blast to watch and wonder what he’ll do next. It’s a gift.

Billy’s gift, in my opinion, is the adaptability to get through anything that challenges him, and I believe that true onstage and off. His humor is off the wall and off the cuff. Or is it? It sure appears that way. I think he’s a pretty funny guy. Speaking of funny guys, Max Meyer plays a mean cowbell. He get the crowd revved for sure. I do believe he’s pretty proud of that. You’ll find out why. Go see the show. He has another surprise for you, too. Go see the show. Dying to tell you what it is, but won’t join this special surprise.

Matthew is such a professional, always steady and just enjoying the musical moments. I believe he is a very talented arranger, and can arrange things in such a manner you wonder why the original song didn’t go that way in the first place. The knowledge he has must be unparalleled. It’s his gift. There is always a seemingly “quiet one” of the groups. The Beatles had George, and The McGuigan’s have Matthew. And that’s a very good thing.

Your Christmas gift to any music lover should be going to this show. Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, you will be a McGuigan Brothers fan. Go see the show. You’ll love it. The first Christmas, the Baby Jesus had three wise men, bearing gifts. This Christmas, Omaha has three wise men named McGuigan, bearing their gifts. The Celestial Star they follow is their Dad, who shines upon them. Go see the show. The Slowdown is an awesome venue for them to call home.

Three Days Before!

This day marks three days out from Christmas. As happens frequently in the Midwest, the State of Nebraska is smack dab in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning. We don’t have an enormous amount of snow coming, but the winds are producing blizzard conditions. A small amount of snow can move into deep drifts because of the winds. What a treat!

I’m not caring too much about all of this – we don’t need to go anywhere later. We were gathering for a friend’s birthday later, but I’m thinking they will cancel it. We live twenty-five miles from the Post, which is where the gathering will be. It may be much worse here than there, too.

The song I’ve chosen for today is a favorite. “Silent Night,” by Jackie Evancho. This little girl has grown up and is still singing; she is amazing. This recording is from when she was younger. Silent Night is another song that takes me back to Midnight Mass. I think especially of our dad when I hear it. For over thirty years now, he’s gone, and while I don’t dwell, I miss him at Christmas and on the New Year, his birthday. Enjoy this angelic voice and remember good things. We may not gather this year, but we can call, Zoom, Skype, and many other wonders of technology. It won’t be that hard. It’s a sacrifice, but it will be worth it a year from now.

Carol Gino’s Book, The Nurse’s Story and My Notes for the Next Two Blogs!

The book “The Nurse’s Story,” by my friend Carol Gino is the most fascinating account of nursing I’ve read. She tells her own story with experiences with patients she cared for – and lost – over the years. Many girls I went to high school with became nurses; I wish I could have become one, too. Money was a big issue back then, and my timid personality didn’t help. I didn’t want to ask my folks to pay for it, and I didn’t know how I could get the money. Heck, I didn’t drive or anything.

Nursing has changed in the last forty years, and I would bet this lady lobbied for a lot of the changes. A nurse is the true caregiver in a hospital setting, they observe the patients during their best and worst times, and she ought to have some input into their care, and ought to have respect for what they do. My dad always said, “Nurses never get enough respect.” He worked closely with nurses in the MASH unit in Korea and in Europe, boots on the ground.

Doctors (now, a hospitalist, who doesn’t know you) plot your care out and visit. It’s rare for your regular doctor to care for you in a hospital. Yes, surgeons, cardiologists and oncologists are more hands-on doctors, but those are the exceptions.

This book is amazing, and I want to finish it over the next few days. I highly suggest it if you enjoy reading medical-based stories. And it’s real. Those are the best stories. Thank you, Carol Gino, for a beautiful book!

The wind is so harsh today, I can’t help but think of the homeless population who endure this weather. It is such a sad thought, especially at Christmas. I’m glad the VFW Post became a supporter of Moving Veterans Forward this year. We actually can see the difference we can make in the lives of these men and women. There, but by the grace of God, go I. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be the Change. Be a Difference. Be Safe! Thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

Another Day, Another Carol

No, not a “Carol” person, but a song. Another song I enjoy during the Christmas Season. I’ve just heard this artist perform this song recently, and I love his voice with it. It’s a voice that commands attention, as does the man himself; he is tall and could intimidate in the wrong situation. (Wrong for you)! But he uses this gift of his to sing one of the most tender songs about Baby Jesus. There is no doubt about his belief this Baby changed everything. Today, I offer Ray Scott, singing O, Holy Night. Enjoy!

The memories of this Christmas Carol go back to my days in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Choir. All the girls were in choir, most of the boys were altar boys. Really strict in those days. No whispering in Church, perfect attention, blah, blah, blah. It amazes me the boys had a choice. Of course, way back in the day, they needed to know the Latin Mass. That is pre-historic, isn’t it? My brother knew it, and I helped him drill on it, so I knew it too. Most of us could read along to it in our Missals (I think that’s what they called it). I don’t know where mine went. It was pretty educational, with Latin on one page and English on the other adjoining page. You could at least try to figure out what the Priest of Monsignor was saying. Midnight Mass in Latin meant we sang the Catholic Carols in Latin.

Oh, Holy Night reminds me of the semi-dark Church. Once the celebrant declared Jesus was born, all the lights turned on immediately and we sang “Joy to the World.” It truly made us feel like the world became a good place again since God sent his Son to save us. Theologians tell us now this is not the feast or event we should celebrate; it actually is Easter. Easter marks Jesus rising from the dead and defeating death itself. Our souls had the chance of eternal life from that moment on. Of course, the nuns told us this too. No little kid on earth could agree with that theory. For believers, however, it is true.

My Faith leads me to believe all things are possible with God. It’s not a Catholic religion but just living on earth all these years. I’ve had many miracles in my life; my 5 and 1/2 year old son survived drowning and is now 49 years old, my younger son, now 45, survived a ruptured appendix at 10 despite a severe abdominal infection, and I can still walk after nearly being paralyzed by an arachnoid cyst in my spinal column twenty-five years ago. God’s love amazes me. So do His miracles.

Just doing some website updates for the VFW Post this afternoon. I’ve been procrastinating on that project a bit, so I just need to finish scanning some documents. New endeavors are a bit intimidating, I hope my hardware is current enough to handle the job. I think it is. Life is all about learning, folks. And I enjoy it all, especially as I get older. Yes, it can frustrate the heck out of a person, but achieving is what it’s all about. Relax. Don’t Stress!

While you contemplate the coming Holiday of Love, spread some of it around yourself, ok? Be Patient. Be Kind. Be Grateful. Be Safe. Wear your mask and let’s get vaccinated as soon as our own personal MD’s think it is a good idea. Thank you for reading, see you tomorrow!

Countdown-Six Days to Go!

These last days before Christmas, I’m noting some seasonal songs I enjoy hearing at Christmas. Today’s is “Celebrate Me Home,” by Kenny Loggins. This was the extended version, so it’s a nice nearly ten minute break in your day. I love the thoughts about being home for Christmas. I never lived away from home, where I couldn’t come home for Christmas. All my siblings live in town, as do most of our cousins. My first husband took leave the first Christmas he was in the Army. He came home early from a cushy gig in Germany in December 1972. His older brother was in Thailand and missed two Christmases with the family.

I only had a few gifts to wrap, three for grandkids. I have one more for Gavin to assemble, then wrap or gift bag it. It’ll be fine. I’m coping pretty well at the moment about not seeing the kids at Christmas. My daughter hasn’t been home for that in many years, and that’s ok. They have two babies and it’s hard. Her mother-in-law would be alone unless they invited her along, but I’m not sure she would like to come. That’s ok, we wouldn’t want her to be alone.

It took a long time to come to terms with what Christmas is now, for empty nesters. Because of COVID, my one son who is in town doesn’t want to get together. His restaurant chef job could be shaky, and if he became ill, he wouldn’t have any PTO. It gets so complicated.

The cute header photo of two ornaments, two of our little neighbor children made. It was such a sweet surprise! The entire family walked over to present them. It was just so thoughtful. Mom is home-schooling because of COVID, and Dad works from home. My hat is off to her. She schedules them time to be outside; run their energy out and go back inside and be quiet to not disturb Dad’s ZOOM meetings. It’s lovely to see how they work together.

This is so true. Find Joy in the Snow, whether or not you love it. Rather be joyful than negative.

I decorate with snowmen once the Christmas decorations come down. It is less of a shock to just change out some decorations instead of looking at a naked house in the cold, dark days of January. Hopefully, we will have mass vaccinations by February and we can live our lives again. I’m praying for a good outcome that is safe.

If you know of anyone alone this Christmas, try to communicate with them. They would probably love a phone call or a little bag of candy and cookies. It takes very little for a stranger to brighten a person’s day. Be Kind. Be Thoughtful. Be Courteous. Be Safe. And Spread the Christmas Message of Love, not COVID. Blessings. See you tomorrow.

Christmas, 2020

The tree is up, we will stow the empty decoration boxes today. I’ll mail the gifts to Colorado grandkids today, and this morning, I came upon this beautiful YouTube video posted by Sally Walker, my friend from the Nebraska Writers Guild group. Isn’t this child precious? His eyes are so full of wonder and love. I want to see the world through his eyes. The eyes of innocence. The eyes of grace. The eyes of pure love.

I’m catching the spirit. I’m glad. Christmas is hard for me sometimes. Too many losses and enormous changes in families happen sometimes. Let’s just call it that. We need to adjust when things don’t resemble what they used to. It happens to everyone; people who deserve it and people who don’t.

It made me happy to buy Christmas stamps at the Post Office. The Winter Version of the Forever stamp kind of reflects the life at Raabe Ranch. I jokingly refer to our home as that; we have a giant yard for the dogs to run and play, and we are fortunate to have a wetland behind our home. It’s beautiful during any of the seasons. I actually saw a couple of these owls in flight very early one morning. Be quick to catch a glimpse, or you miss it and wonder if you really saw what you thought you saw. We are grateful for living here.

We don’t see deer or teams of horses, but we see various birds, coyotes, wild turkeys and assorted other creatures.

While putting away the bins for Christmas decorations, I’m moving all the art supplies I purchased this year in my creative storage area – downstairs, all in bins, handy for when I get some time to spare. I thought I’d be able to do an online art instruction this year, but the writing happily got in the way. I have written little besides the blog this month, but I needed to take a break from it. I know exactly where to pick it up again, and I will soon.

I plan to publish a children’s book in the first quarter of 2021. I have an illustrator in mind, just need to connect with her. I will also connect with a local printer for publication on demand. I believe that will work for the first go around. And before there is anything like those things done, I need to consult with an attorney to become an LLC.

You all can help me, what do you think? Shall I name it:

Kathy Raabe Publishing Company, LLC


The Little White Puppy Publishing Company, LLC

Please comment to voice your opinion! On one hand, I believe a Publishing Company in my name would be easier for someone to find in a Google search; I got serious about blogging the day a car killed our Little White Puppy. Someone left our gate open after retrieving a parachute firework. The dogs both ran out the next morning, and Roxie died. The book is about that and how our grandson learned to cope with the grief.

As you continue your day, I hope it’s a good one. I hope we’re all good to each other, and others are good to us, too. We need to make it a kinder world. Let’s start today. And don’t forget to vote on my LLC name, please? Thank you, see you tomorrow!


Just a Couple Weeks

I remember Christmas as a kid. It was so much better as a kid than it is as an older person. There is something about having little kids around that makes the celebration more full of hope and joy. When we were kids, our home life and Church life overlapped. Being Catholic, it thrilled us about Baby Jesus coming along with Santa Claus. We practiced for weeks for the big Christmas program, all our parents came (Dad didn’t, he worked nights and slept in the daytime); we sang every religious carol known to man at the time and all developed the high falsetto voice the Music Nun insisted we sing. To this day, I’m haunted by the excessively high pitch she had and expected us to all mimic. I am not even sure where my voice range is, I’m embarrassed to try singing. I admire those who can do it as easily as speaking.

Although we knew the real meaning of Christmas, it still thrilled us to think Santa would come and leave surprises for us. We didn’t ask about how he entered our house; we had a fake fireplace and knew it did not go to the chimney. We were happy for what we received most of the time. When I was about four or five, I wanted a ballerina doll so badly.

Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com

At that age, ballet fascinated me. I must have seen it on television or something, because I didn’t take lessons. My cousin did. I was jealous of that. I never saw her dance, though. The dancing just blew my mind. I loved the costumes; they were unlike anything I ever saw in my brief life. The tulle, the sparkles, the slippers, were so different from other things in my life.

The big day arrived. My ballerina doll did not. Santa upset me that year. I received a baby blue teddy bear with a music box inside. You could wind it up and listen to a tune I’ve since forgotten. I set it aside and waited my turn to open another package. The usual clothes, puzzles, whatever else.

Later that winter, my brother and I had a lot of the “childhood illnesses;” we had severe chest colds with mumps, and maybe had measles or chicken pox, too. Maybe not all in one year. But we missed school a bit. When we missed school, Mom required we stay in our pajamas. And we stay in bed. Period. No matter what. Rules are rules.

That bear, who I named “Teddy,” became my best friend. I snuggled with him as I went to sleep, when I laid there awake, and I listened to his music to help pass the time. My dad would come in to see me and play a game or two of checkers. I loved playing checkers with my dad. It was always when I was sick, and always just the two of us. Mom didn’t have the patience or time to play games or entertain us. Dad did it enough to make it special.

Before my brother and I had any little brothers, Mom would read to us. She made us listen to her read “Tom Sawyer,” and “Huckleberry Finn.” I don’t think at our young ages it impressed us. Finances being what they were in those days were not so she could go out and buy books for kids. She read from her own collection of books. But we sat on the bed and listened to her. There were no pictures to see, either.

And the ballerina doll? I received it five months later for my birthday, from Grandma and Grandpa Bobell. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It sat on the shelf with all my dolls. And she wasn’t anything special. I still loved the dancers, the tulle, the sparkles, and those toe-shoes; but slept with the Teddy Bear. As I’m now “mature,” I’ve realized how much of life turns out the same way.

We think we want something; it doesn’t happen; we find something else within our reach, so we take it and it’s better than our original “want.” That’s God; answering a prayer we make with a firm “NO,” and guiding us towards what will do us the most good. Once I learned God answers all prayers, some of them are a “no,” I was less disappointed in life. It frees us up to receive more openly. Try it, you’ll like it!

As you may shop today, prepare for Christmas, or visiting friends and family, make sure you’re safe. Even though we have a vaccine now, we may not receive it until spring, or later in some areas. Be safe. Be Careful. Be Thoughtful. Be Patient. Wash up and Mask up. I don’t want to lose any of you now. Thank you for visiting. I’ll see you tomorrow! Blessings!