Friday, November 30, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
I tend to be a bit on the Ba-Humbug side when Christmas rolls around. Especially when it starts rolling around right after Labor Day. I think we make way too big a fuss. The day we celebrate that is supposed to be all about peace on earth brings anything but peace.
Yesterday, Rick and I ventured out to an outlet mall in a nearby town. Traffic entering the mall area was backed up for a mile and a dozen perturbed police officers risked their lives in the middle of intersections waving and swinging their arms like windmills in a hurricane. We drove around and around looking not for an up-close parking place, but ANY parking place. As we zig-zagged back and forth through the parking lot I saw one poor lady, in heels mind you, scaling a very steep sandy embankment as she returned to her car. She carried one small sack. I felt her pain and hoped that the gift she carried was for her mother. Only a mother would appreciate that kind of effort put into purchasing a gift. We finally found a parking spot -- up the same embankment -- which was a couple of blocks away from the mall. We waited patiently with our blinker on for the car occupying the space to back out. Coming from the opposite direction was a lady who had that look on her face that made us think she just might be willing to fight us for the spot. Our truck was bigger than her automobile, so we won.
We walked the long way to the mall. I really had no desire to slide down the embankment on my backside. As we entered the mall area, I could hardly believe my eyes. Thousands of people crowded the stores and spilled over the walkways. There was a "wait" to get into the Coach purse store. We shuffled and bumped along the sidewalk, pushed our way into a couple of stores, then exasperated, hiked back up the hill to the truck. Wow. Tis the season to be jolly! I mumbled fa la la la la all the way home.
Yes, I think we make way too big a fuss over Christmas. I don't recall any scripture that commands us to celebrate the birth of our Lord. On the other hand, the book of Luke records the words of Christ which tell us to remember his broken body and spilled blood. For it was His death and resurrection, His sacrifice that saves us, not His birth alone. So, I struggle with so much emphasis placed on this season we call Christmas. Therefore, the controversy over Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays is a perplexing matter for me.
It saddens me that some power outside my own seems to make every attempt to remove Christ from our culture. I have joined other believers in signing petitions and contacting corporate big wigs in effort to keep the reference of Christ in the December holiday, but I'm not getting on my soap box about it. I guess I see it as a sign of the last days in which we live. I don't care what you call it, Christmas or Santa's Big Day, a label will not change the hearts of men. As long as we focus on buying gifts, being merry, and yes, even the birth of the Christ Child, the sinful wicked hearts of men and women will remain unbroken and unchanged. Only when we see and admit our sinful condition, realize the real cost of true and everlasting peace, then accept the sacrificial love of our Creator and Lord will Christ be welcomed in our culture.
So, is it that big of a deal? I heard a pastor once say during a children's sermon, "Just because someone calls you stupid, does that make you stupid?" Just because we call the day "Christmas," does that make Christ our focus? Or if we call the entire period of time between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the new year "Holidays," does that mean that we do not acknowledge Christ as our savior? Each must examine for himself the condition of his heart and decide how he wants to label the season of gift giving, festive parties, and twinkling lights.
I am comforted by Philippians 2:9-11. "Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and thing on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (ASV) No matter what you call it, Jesus is still Lord, and some day EVERY tongue will confess that fact, like it or not. So in the end... we win! Merry Christmas and happy holidays. May all your days be filled with charity, hope and peace.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tradition is a wonderful thing. It is a type of base we can touch as we play life's game of chase. When we don't know where else to run and it is about to catch us, tradition is a place of safety, security, and rest. Tradition my not be our favorite thing, but we find ourselves coming back to it time and time again. Tradition is a good thing to have, even though we often crave other things.
Here's hoping you have and enjoy traditions and favorites this Thanksgiving. May we all remember to be thankful for both!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I don't know why I found this so funny, but there sat three little green huts on the corner. I hoped one would be marked Ladies, one Gentlemen, and the third... maybe Confused? But no such luck. You just had to take your chances if you needed to go bad enough. That's the first time I had seen such "conveniences" at a corner convenient store.
After the stop and a few more miles down the road, we passed a sign that almost made me hysterical. Keep in mind that the hills were covered with sage, yucca, prickly pear, cactus, scrub cedars, and sand. Tons and tons of very dry sand. The sign I found so funny marked a road that apparently led to a naval training area. Now I might be confused, but I thought the Navy was all about anchors away, submarines, and the sea. We both found it funny that the Navy would have a training area in the middle of the desert. If anyone can tell me why this is true, please let me know. We laughed at the absurdity of the thought.
Misconceptions, portable toilets, and highway signs are not usually that funny. I thank the good Lord that he brought laughter to our lives and joy to our hearts.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
There were some really big rocks and some really cool trees behind the house.
We made the move to Hemet today. We are packed in but I have a concrete patio and I can use my bathroom and there are almost no flies!!!! We've got a heated pool, an exercise room, pool tables, and clean laundry facilities!
Check out Where In The World Am I? for a map.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I added some fun stuff and a counter so I can count all three of you that visit me here! I hope you like it. Let me know.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Now let me ask you how you would feel if you were told you could not live in a certain neighborhood because your skin was not white or black or brown. What if you were not allowed to take vacation where you wanted because you were not a male, or not a female?
As a society we group ourselves, do we not? We are constantly choosing sides in politics, religion, moral issues of the day, etc., and this is acceptable. When we want to segregate ourselves it is a good thing. It is acceptable. We are “embracing” or “supporting” a group or an issue or a belief or a way of life. But when we are on the outside looking in, wanting to be where we are not, then segregation takes on a negative connotation. For the people on the inside of the group, life is good. For those excluded, there is an injustice, a wrong to be righted!
So, here we are on the outside, and I think it just is not right! The campground where we are staying is not the worst I have ever seen, but it is not the loveliest either. We have looked around for a better place to stay, and to our dismay we have found some nice places but can’t stay there because we are not 55 years old or older. When Rick was out here a few years ago, there were campgrounds that would not let him stay there because his camper was older than 10 years old. We have come to the conclusion that to live in southern California, you have to be old and rich.
As we have driven around the towns of Hemet and San Jacinto we have seen countless fenced or walled neighborhoods whose entrances are posted with the name of the neighborhood and the words “55 and older.” I guess the folks living inside the walls like it that way. But I just have to wonder why that kind of neighborhood is perfectly acceptable, but a neighborhood boasting “whites only” or “men and boys” would be attacked in a minute by the ACLU and most of mainstream America. This girl never wanted to join the Boy Scouts, but I would like to stay in a nice, clean, quiet, safe campground.
I think it is a little strange to find these types of campgrounds and neighborhoods here in California because I thought the whole idea of “acceptance” and “tolerance” was born here. I’m thankful that as my children were growing up we lived in a place so narrow minded that young families were allowed to live next door to senior citizens. My girls loved lunging through snow drifts in our neighbor’s driveway in order to get their mail for them when they were not able to get out and get it for themselves. And believe it or not, I believe that those 55 and older neighbors enjoyed watching us teach the girls to ride their bikes. I believe our lives are much richer, our minds much wiser, and our memories more pleasant because of the “desegregated” street where we lived.
I am still a little more than a decade away from 55 and I may change my point of view when I get there, but I can’t imagine that I would enjoy living in a neighborhood where I couldn't hear children laugh everyday or where all my friends and neighbors had the same aches and pains and complaints as I. Who would I depart my many years of experiential wisdom to if everyone around me were as old and wise as I? And if I can’t get through a snow drift to get to my mail box, I hope and pray there will be a young person around and willing to lend a helping hand.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
REMEMBER THE ALAMO!
Saturday, November 3, 2007
We are on our way up the mountain, looking back down onto Beaumont.
Coming down back into the desert valley... there is always a haze in the air, so it is hard to see the mountains in the distance.