Sunday, December 21, 2008

Simple Christmas


Just simple decorations for our tree, for a simple Christmas.

Reflections of an unquiet time

It's been really hard to blog lately, so I haven't. It's not that there isn't anything going on to blog about. It's because there is too much to blog about. By this time next week, Christmas will be over. The stress of "Did I buy enough? Did I forget someone? Are we now bankrupt?" will be put away for another year.
This year, there were two children that dominated the media, because their plight dominated our hearts. They touched us. This first was Kaylee Anthony, a little two year old girl we were made aware of in July because she had been missing for a month before her grandmother made a 911 call for help. The second child was Brenden Foster, an eleven year old boy we learned about in November, who was dying from leukemia, but was selfless in his pursuit for food for the homeless.
Neither child will be celebrating Christmas with their families this year. It appears that Kaylee was killed sometime during the summer. Brenden died just before Thanksgiving.
When you reflect on the smiling pictures of Kaylee, lying unknown and unburied for six months, a senseless, useless murder and the heartrending sadness of the passing of a gentle soul like Brenden to an economy that is seeing record amounts of American's losing their homes and their jobs, who really feels the joy of Christmas? Who can really afford it? Who wants to?
If I didn't celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, ie the birth of Jesus the Christ, I probably would skip Christmas this year.
Instead, despite the advice of the economists to spend, spend, spend! and save the economy, our Christmas celebration is returning to it's 1930's roots - it's revolving around family, shared meals, and a minimum of presents.
It will probably be the best Christmas celebration we've had in a long time.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Rest In Peace

SEATTLE - Eleven-year-old Brenden Foster was laid to rest Saturday afternoon, but not before his dying wish to feed the homeless was fulfilled by many residents of Western Washington and around the nation.
Brenden's family and friends gathered at a private ceremony and said good-bye to the young boy who touched so many hearts with his bravery and compassion.
Brenden's casket is surrounded by flowers during the service.The impact he had during the last few weeks of his life was tremendous.
"If I displayed bravery that this little boy did and the courage, I'll be glad, because this is one brave little man right here," said Jim McMurrow, Brenden's grandfather.
Most people came to know about Brenden's courage and compassion after he told KOMO News reporter Elisa Jaffe about his dying wish to feed the homeless.
That wish sparked volunteers from Seattle and Los Angeles to Ohio and Florida to feed the homeless in Brenden's name. He was too sick to do it himself.
"Brenden was always more interested in helping others and bettering the world than anything he might be going through," his mother, Wendy Foster, wrote in a message to family and friends.
Despite his illness, Brenden wrung every last drop from his life.
"I had a great time," he said not long before his death. "Until my time comes, I'm gonna keep having a great time."
Brenden's time came two weeks ago, when leukemia took the 11-year-old's life after a 3 1/2-year battle with the disease.
Elisa Jaffe said, in memory of the courageous young boy, "I know what it's like to be blessed, and I think Brenden actually blessed so many people around the country and around the world."
At his memorial service, friends and family heard cheerful stories of a little boy, bold in his convictions, wise beyond his age.
Pat McMurrow, Brenden's grandmother, remembers, "He would listen to music not just for the music by the message that was in the music."
"God says, whatever you do for the least of my children you do for me, and he was a child doing that for others," said Wayne Mangan, a friend and leukemia survivor.
Brenden Foster was buried right after Saturday's service. But before his passing, he challenged us to make all of our days meaningful.
He said, "Follow your dreams. Don't let anything stop you."

Some advice for President elect Obama

Well, you've won the election, and the chickens have come home to roost. That's right. Ah, ha. You promised your daughters that you'd get them a puppy. But so far, Pops, you haven't delivered.
Perhaps you thought it was more important to get your cabinet in order. For a grown up, that is understandable. After all, the country is going to hell in a hand basket; what with the economy tanking, banks failing and every one standing with their hand out for some bail out bucks.
Or, perhaps you've thought it through a little more carefully and are kind of rethinking this getting a puppy promise.
After all, it's not really getting a pooch that is the problem. It's the being the President and getting a pooch that is the problem. By now, you've realized like never before that every move, decision and sneeze you make will be analyzed, re-analyzed and then scrutinized.

Get a pooch, and no doubt there will be a national debate on what kind of pooch you should get, and what the psychological implications it reveals about your personality.

Pick a poodle, and the country will get worried about our national security.

Pick a rottweiler or a pit bull and the world will be worried about their national security.

Pick a German Shepherd, and the rest of the world will wonder what kind of a message you are sending? Secret friendship? Secret deals? Hmmmm.........

My advice, skip the pooch.

No, I'm not recommending that you renege or that you go back on a promise, especially not one that you made to your daughters. But I'm pretty sure if you make them get out of bed every morning at 5:30, to hurriedly stuff their feet into socks and shoes, pull on a jacket and go out to face the weather - cold, breeze, rain and even snow- their eagerness for a puppy will fade away.

If not, remind them that they then will have to scoop up and dispose of what the puppy left. For at least 10 years. Ick!

Instead, get them a Maine Coon Cat. First of all, a Maine Coon is a good, old made in America breed of cat. No one can read a mixed message in that.

Second, the Maine Coon is a gentle giant. Your daughters can carry, pet and really enjoy these cats without the danger of being scratched. Little girls love to brush their pets, and the Maine Coon will enjoy it.

Third, you don't have to take a Maine Coon outdoors in rain, snow and sleet for potty duties.

Fourth, when your family needs to travel, the girls can take their pet with them quite easily in a pet carrier without the annoying bark! bark! that you usually get with a dog. In unfamiliar surroundings, a pet is a comforting familiar.

As for naming your new pet, that could lead to even more public input. My advice? Not really sure right now. I'll have to get back to you on that.

Sociable

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