Crouching Decorations, Hidden Power

Ah, it is that time of year again!

The Christmas decorations are unpacked from their cardboard tombs in attics, garage spaces, and storage units. The annual ritual of carefully unrolling the bundled outdoor lights accompanied by hours of troubleshooting the dead bulbs can only be soothed with happy holiday music playing in the background (or a few shots of your favorite beverages).

Every year, we swear that we will pack up the lights and decorations carefully so that NEXT year, we will not have to deal with these holiday headaches. However, eleven months later, we always mumble those words – “Why did I pack away these lights and decorations in this lousy way???

But alas, after the long hours of labor and love, we stand back to admire the hard work of decorating the outside of our homes (I have visions of Chevy Chase plugging and unplugging his electrical cords).

The nightfall revives these illuminated decorations and the child in us comes alive!

The next morning, lawn ornaments fall and the facade returns to normal (except for the wreaths or other non-electrical ornaments). There is a lesson I see in the day time of the holiday season….

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Thanksgiving War

The overturned laundry basket blocked the path on the upstairs hallway. The smell of adrenaline and sweat permeated the staircase. The window blinds were closed to create the effect of nightfall. The overworked automatic dishwasher screamed for a merciful break from the evil taskmaster. The half-empty bowls and platters revealed evidence of a once beautiful meal.

Ah, Thanksgiving at the Gee’s house once again!

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Holiday Colors

One of the beautiful indicators of change are the colors of leaves all around us. The vividness are a constant reminder that if there is anything consistent, it is change.

Why do we capture pictures of these changing hues year after year? After all, they will reappear this same time next year (assuming the trees survive the environmental changes). We have a fascination for these wonderful displays of coloration but I wonder if there is a deeper meaning that is aroused within us when we are reminded of the changing seasons?

The holiday season brings our own colors within our hearts and minds. What do I mean by this? Let me share my insights with you….

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Rough Start To Our Vacation

(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)

Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!

Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.

Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.

My phone buzzed – it was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.

Dad, we have a problem.

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A Very Special Christmas Gathering

 

The brisk sunny afternoon was the perfect welcome for the annual Christmas party that was about to begin. Relatives near and far converged upon this particular home which enjoyed the perfect backdrop of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Oakland hills greeted this extended family to a party expected to be filled with laughter, stories, and love that transcends four generations!

This much-anticipated family party was about to begin!

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Little Mary (part 1)

The August weather challenged my mind as I assembled my team for the Christmas production while coordinating thirty-six children ranging from ages 6-12. It was a small group of volunteers including a piano player to tap the notes for the children.

It would be my first experience organizing and conducting a children’s choir at church. I was up for the challenge in spite of the inattentiveness of the children. The plan was to create a musical production in less than four months. Many did not have stage experience or even participated in a full musical production. Many could not read musical notes or dance. Yes, it would be a first for everyone so let the fun begin!

Excitement filled the air and many older girls were practicing for the coveted part – Mary’s solo. There were other solo parts to be had but this one was the best in the production (according to the children). It was no wonder many girls lined up for their chance to win the lead solo (or at the very least, to be the understudy).

When the line of hopeful singers was exhausted, I asked if there were any more singers ready to try out for this special solo. Everyone looked around but no one raised their hand. Then my attention turned to someone sitting in the back of the room. Continue reading “Little Mary (part 1)”