Saturday, December 31, 2011

New beginnings

New starts come more than once a year

Still punctuating Craig’s mostly-packed-away room are little remnants of his past life: his iPod and guitar pick, his weight set and Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding encyclopedia, one of his beloved Harry Potter books and a Stephen King novel. All those things—music, exercise, and pleasure reading—were such a big part of his life as a teenager but now have very little place in his rigorous missionary schedule in Argentina. 

Now, his workouts last about the same amount of time he used to spend just warming up for a water polo game. Now, his music searches consist of thumbing through the church hymnal for songs to play on the piano--quite a contrast to the habits of the boy turned eclectic-music-enthusiast who discovered new songs and artists online almost daily.

Friday, December 30, 2011

It's soup season

The virtues of soup are endless

I’m not the carnivore type who has to sink my teeth into meat to be satisfied. In fact, except for a good Perry barbecue now and then and an occasional pot roast, I could live on soup almost all year. (No kidding. I’ve even ordered soup in Reno, Nevada during the summer.) 

Fortunately for me, it’s soup season, and I don’t have to make any apologies for either preparing or requesting soup often. Better yet, at this time of year, others are thinking like me. The other night, for example, I was busy upstairs when Ken called me down to dinner. He’d fixed grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (tomato basil bisque, to be exact). That the soup came from a can didn’t matter in the least; it was positively delicious and exactly what I wanted on a cold, dark night.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Is Santa Claus really all that?

Santa Claus has always been such a conflicting figure

When Bryan, our eldest, was six years old, he lamented, “Dad, I’ve been scared of Santa for four years. Now, this year, I’m not scared, and I don’t know what to ask for.” Fine time for a brain freeze! After all, he knew this was THE guy holding the key to his childhood happiness.

Truth be told, Santa Claus, is a very conflicting figure. On the one hand, we teach children to beware of strangers, yet we fully expect them to feel comfortable cozying up to this white-haired man they see only once a year and divulging their secret wishes. Moreover, we insist they help document their great pleasure in this encounter by smiling for the camera. Talk about cognitive dissonance! No wonder so many children cry during the obligatory photo shoot with Santa. They’re terrified!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Who makes you laugh the most?

Grant still can make me laugh my head off

I know I shouldn’t have laughed, but I couldn’t help myself. Immediately after she led the group in singing a reverent song, a woman at church walked down the aisle and slugged her husband as she passed by. Obviously, something was understood between them. From my point of view, the irony was enough to have me laughing throughout the prayer that followed.

Laughing, even at the most inappropriate times, can feel so good. It cleanses the soul. It makes us feel alive. That's why, consciously or subconsciously, we continually seek out people who make us laugh, and we look for moments to make others laugh.