Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Christmas Post

Here is my (now) Annual Christmas Post.  I wrote it in 2011 for  Heidi Poppins, but the Christmas Music is back on the radio, and I am back on my Pandora and YouTube mixes.  Just an FYI--each word in blue (on the words "Truly great music of the ages")  links  onto a beautiful performance of a beautiful Christmas Carol.

I have stopped listening to "The Christmas Station" on the radio. I used to love to turn it on in the background to help me get into a Christmas-sy mood--but now it just enrages me, so I leave it off.

There is a simple explanation (and no, it is not my hormones making me madder than David Banner on a bad day!). It is that some of the greatest music ever written is about the birth of the Christ Child--and very, very little of that great music is played on the radio. Instead, we are subjected to the worst twaddle of the twentieth century (and yes, I am referring to Wham's nausea inducing "classic" "Last Christmas" or the electronic saccharine of "Do They Know It's Christmas").

Apparently 1984 was the bottom of the barrel, song-wise--or it would have been, except that was the year that Mark Lowry wrote the words to "Mary Did You Know" (although it took another six years for someone to set it to music).

In this song, the author, Mark Lowry cites a laundry list of disabilities and sorrows that the Savior miraculously healed. Most of us know or have interacted with people who were blind, deaf, crippled or lamed in one way or another. When I was young I wondered if being "dumb" or mute still existed, because I had never met or even heard of someone who was mute. Very few people have.

Now I am the mother of one.

Partially the reason we don't hear about it is that the name has changed. Now it is called being "non-verbal"--which is actually more accurate. My daughter can not speak, but she is FAR from being the silent creature that the word "mute" implies, and, while she has neurological and developmental issues, no one who has ever met her would consider her "dumb". Also, it is statistically quite rare.

However, that doesn't change the fact that she doesn't speak. I have never heard her say "mama" or tell someone her name or how old she is. She can’t tell me where it hurts, or what she is thinking about. I would give anything to understand what is going on in her head, what she wants and how she feels.

Which is why listening to "Mary Did You Know" invariably reduces me to tears, especially when it is sung (perfectly) by Kathy Mattea.

This song is not only beautiful, reverent and thought provoking, but when she sings (at 2:07) that "the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb" I am reminded that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Him who heals all sorrows, including my non-verbal child. I know that someday, my funny, loving, adorable daughter will look into her Savior’s face and "sing his praises".

So, instead of listening to the radio, I made myself a playlist on YouTube, so I can listen to the truly great music of the ages.

May you have a wonderful, joy filled Christmas--and may you be aware of the miracles that you take for granted every day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

While there are some people who would say my children are too old for story books, we know the truth:  You are NEVER too old for a really good story, and if it comes with great pictures--even better!

So, with that said, if you haven't been introduced to "Diary of a Wombat" by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley--go now, to your nearest library, and enjoy it STAT!
So fun and charming!  and such a fun introduction to an animal that lives far across the world from our family!

And, we were super excited to find that our good old friend Wombat has been joined by other friends!


and then, moving on to something completely different:

"Always in Trouble" by Corinne Demas and Noah Z. Jones

and then something completely different in a completely different direction:

"Waiting for Winter" (hilariously) written and (gorgeously) illustrated by Sebastian Meschenmoser

This one may be my very favorite.  It is clever, thought provoking, and hilarious, and I love the illustrations!

Also,  if you happened to have missed the dynamic duo of Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger, your life is sadly incomplete.  
Tacky the Penguin now has EIGHT books!

and don't miss their other beloved classics, such as:
"Me First" ("Would anyone care for a Sand Witch?")
"All for Me and None for All"
"It Wasn't My Fault"
of course
"A Porcupine Named Fluffy"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Just a week in the life!

We had Sunday Seminary today after an excellent Stake Conference.  We are starting Luke, so we went through Chapter 1, with the birth of John and the miracles and prophecies that went with it.  Then we started Luke 2.  The most interesting part was the contrast of having LargeCousin, BigGirl & LargeBoy, who have heard the story every year of their lives, and Constance, who is not a member (her dad joined a year ago, she is investigating—I just LOVE her—she is awesome!), and their differing perspectives.  She asked such excellent questions, it was great.

My class is really excellent.  They are such great people, and they get along well—no conflicts or antagonism.  We also, besides our regular people, have BrotherC (the little brother of BrotherA, who is in the class), who is only 12, but loves coming—and I am not about to discourage anybody who likes to come and is burning up the Scripture Mastery!  He wants to have his 1000 days of scripture reading by the time he’s a sophomore!

 I had seminary inservice yesterday, which is always enjoyable. My main insight for today (I found it interesting, at least!)  is that when Christ was hanging on the cross, and he said  (in Mark chapter 15, verse 34 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  He was quoting Psalm 22.  And, he expected his audience (who had been trained in Jewish Scholarship) to know—and extrapolate—the entire chapter from that one line.  Look it up during your scripture study.  It is very evocative imagery.   

I got to drive my new car down.  It is so nice! 

We had a nicely busy week--lots of things, but not crazy. Last Saturday, (the day BigGirl went on her date) LargeBoy and I spent the morning at the “University of Scouting”.  We got a lot of good training.  The only thing that makes me sad is that just as I get this scout thing figured out, LargeBoy is out of that phase—I need more boys to use my new knowledge on!!

On Monday, I went to Norwalk in the morning and picked up the election supplies, then, in the afternoon SmallDaughter had riding (tomorrow-Monday the 12th is her last day this year—she will be so bummed!  She misses the horsies by Tuesday—let alone for 4 months!).    Tuesday was the election, which was nicely busy, but everybody was polite, and it was actually the smoothest election I have presided over.  We were very blessed!  For our little Township precinct (everybody in the area surrounding our town, but not actually in the city limits) we had GREAT turnout (85 absentee votes, and 265 live voters, out of 519 registered!).  It is always a long day, but I like the people I work with, and the people we see every year in our precinct. 

Of course, Wednesday was Scouts & Young Women.  The girls are getting ready for “YW in Excellence” next week.  SmallDaughter goes in to the nursery where the Faith in God girls meet, and she plays with the toys, and enjoys being near her friends.  The girls have adopted her—they talk to her, and watch out for her—it is SO sweet!

Thursday was Cub Scout Committee meeting.  Blessedly, our Committee has grown from my first meeting (which was just me and UberScoutMom!)  She was basically running the whole show single-handedly all last year.  Things are slowly progressing.  For quite a while, it was just four of us, then we added our representative from the Bishopric, and now (drumroll, please…) we FINALLY have new Webelos leaders—Scott H. is a new member of the Church, and he is gung-ho!  My dad has been called as his assistant.  I am really excited for this new year. 

My main job is generating papers—I do the monthly newsletter, and any other papers they need.  This week, I made a flyer for the bulletin, because we are starting a Uniform Exchange.  I also made invitations for the Ward Christmas Party, because the poor Sister in charge is basically doing it all by herself (I am not really a fan of having the Activities committee disbanded). 

I was looking all over for my purse on Thursday evening, so I could go to committee meeting, and I was going crazy, because I remembered hanging it up—but IT WAS NOT THERE.  I cleaned out the coat closet, and went room by room—no luck.  Finally, when I checked SmallDaughter’s room—mystery solved!  She is sure getting taller!

On Friday, we went to Wal-Mart and got the kids portraits.  They turned out cute, and I was very pleased.  BrotherA & BrotherC had another sleepover here, and BigGirl had a sleepover with her friend S, for her (S’s) 16th birthday.  The boys burned the sticks in the yard (everything that had blown down in all the wind and that I chopped in my crazed Nopper escapade!) and had a cookout (we picked up supplies while we were at Wal-Mart, and I got them the HUGE marshmallows—which are almost a fatal dose to an adult—but they had eaten the whole bag by the time I got home from inservice!)

On Saturday, LargeBoy and the boys watched SmallDaughter while I was at my inservice, and after BigGirl got home from her party, LargeBoy and I went to his Order of the Arrow banquet.  I am really proud of him.  He is also filling out a job application to work at Scout Camp next summer—which is great, because they are the one job that doesn’t mind if he takes time off to go to the Reunion and then more time off to go the National Jamboree!

SmallDaughter has been being super cute and funny—although BigGirl was pretty grumpy when she realized that after all the work she had put in making chicken soup and rolling and cutting out homemade noodles (she took The WonderDog over to Kelly’s house for a bath while the noodles dried)—when she got back, she found that SmallDaughter had poured a whole bottle of cinnamon on them, and rubbed it in!  (BigGirl just used store bought noodles in the soup, and deep fried the noodles, and rolled them in cinnamon sugar—they were good!) 

I am off to bed to get ready for another week of adventures!