Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Thoughts On The Last Day in 2012

            The kids and grandkids are gone.  The house is clean . . . and quiet.  Too quiet.  Bittersweet covers it perfectly.

            There is a beautiful, soft snow falling today cleaning up everything outside.

         December went by so fast.  All during the month I kept thinking about Psalm 61.  For the first time in my life, the TV news was so unbearably sad I wouldn’t watch it.  My mind kept going to Psalm 61:2 – “ . . . Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” 

            I love how Edward Mote, the hymnwriter, put it.  “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.”

            As I read everyone’s Christmas letters this month, it occurred to me that in four heartbeats I went from being the grandchild, to the child, to the parent, and now to the grandparent.  It made me think of Psalm 61:5, “You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.”

            But mostly during December I kept thinking about Emanuel – God with us.  For some reason we only talk about that name at Christmas time, but it so clearly captures what God always intended.  We were created to have a personal relationship with Him.  God with us.

            That changes everything.  George Wade Robinson, another hymnwriter, said it so beautifully.

Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen;
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know, I am His, and He is mine.

 Have a beautiful New Year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Biography Book Reports

            “Can we put our stuff in here?”

            I looked up as Landon, Jeremy, and Ramon spilled through the doorway, their arms loaded with bags and posters.

            “Sure guys.  Put your stuff on the counter by the printer.  Are you all ready to present your biography book reports?”

            “I’m doing Shakespeare,” said Ramon.  He pulled a bathrobe out of his plastic Walmart bag and began putting it on.

            “Let me see you other guys’ costumes.”

            Landon struggled to pull a brown wig over his head.  His blond hair flipped out on the sides, and wig hair hung over his eyes.  He pulled a pair of orange-tinted sunglasses out of his bag and put them on.

            “So you’re doing Elvis,” I observed.

            Landon bent over his bag again.  “I’ve got this really neat jacket my mom had that I’m wearing too.”  He stood up and held out a sequined blazer.

            Who has a sequined blazer in their closet?

            “Very cool,” I said.  “Did you practice your speech at home?”

            “I didn’t have time.  Can I say it for you?”

            “Sure, I just need to . . . ,” I stopped.  “Jeremy.  What are you doing?”

            Jeremy had peeled his shirt off and was trying to tie a sheet over his shoulder.

            “I’m doing Caesar.”

            “I think you need to keep your shirt on.”

            “But the picture shows him without a shirt.”

            Landon and Ramon tilted their heads and studied Jeremy.

            “I think he needs to have his shirt off, Mrs. Jones,” Ramon said.

            “You can ask Mr. Sanderson before class starts what he thinks you should do,” I punted.

            Jeremy gave up on the sheet and set up a large poster displaying an exotic picture of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. 

            “I’m going to tell about how Caesar went to see Cleo . . . ,” he paused struggling to read his notecard, “PuhTRAH and her brother Peetolemy.”

            “Jeremy, did you practice your speech about Caesar at home?” I asked.

            “Yeah.  I practiced three times saying it to my dad.”

            “I don’t think you say the ‘P’ in Cleopatra’s brother’s name.  The ‘P’ is silent.”

            “Nuh Uh.  My dad said you say it.”

            Not going to touch that one.  “Oooookay.”

            “I have a poster too,” Landon interrupted holding up a pink board displaying King Elvis in his earlier slender period.  “I’m going to tell about how he recorded his first song when he was 16 and how after his wife died, he moved back to Mississippi.”

            “After his wife died, he moved back to Mississippi?”

            “Yeah.  His wife was Priscilla.”

            “Is that what the book you read said?”  I stared long and hard at Landon, but he didn’t back down.

            “Yeah.  That’s what the book said.”

            “Do you still have it?”

            “No.  I took it back to the library yesterday.”

            Well this is great news for the world of rock and roll.  It was Priscilla who died.  Elvis is alive and well in Mississippi.

            “Here’s my poster,” said Ramon.  On his blue posterboard was a picture of Shakespeare and a picture of a king on a throne.

            “OK.  I can see that you have a picture of Shakespeare, but who is that?” I asked pointing to the king.

            “That’s a picture of the first play he wrote.  King Henry Vee Eye Eye Eye.”

            Oh, this is just too, too, too good.

            “Do you like our costumes?” Ramon asked.

            Landon had taken off his sequined blazer and was stuffing it back into his bag.

            “We’re going to get a good grade huh,” Jeremy said.

            “I think Mr. Sanderson will love it,” I said enthusiastically.

            Landon straightened up, swirled around and pointed his finger at me.  “Thank you.  Thank you very much.”