I was at the mall recently and saw candy canes. When did they put up Christmas trees? Why are we in such a hurry?
My friend called the other day to cancel lunch because she needed all day to finalize her Christmas list. My goodness, I never make mine before December. She apologized and explained she wants to start early to avoid what she foretells will be impossible traffic during the season.
Well, there’s a thought.
But I refuse to allow the frenzy and rush of the season to get to me. In my favor is that I live almost next door to the Town Center. For this I am grateful. I go when they open, stop for lunch, maybe return for another couple of hours and then call it a day. The next day, I do it again.
My daughter in Florida has her gifts all wrapped and ready three months early. That’s not my style. I pretty much have a clear idea of what to buy and who to buy it for. I will admit that I do hyperventilate a little around Dec. 20 and my list is not even halfway done.
It is usually a photo finish between Santa and me, with me winning by a hair. But at our home the Christmas spirit only begins as I baste my Thanksgiving turkey.
It is easy for me because I have three daughters close by who, bless their hearts, become my arms and legs when mine are not ready to go. They scout bazaars and tell me what they think I may want to buy. They send me pictures so I don’t have to battle the crowds. Yes, that’s just another perk of age.
When the last name on my list is checked off, we breathe a sigh of relief. I used to celebrate that happy moment with a frosty glass of white wine. Today a bowl of piping hot pumpkin soup fits the bill.
Worried for Francis
The warm and boisterous welcome accorded Pope Francis in the United States was inspiring, reassuring. Millions were expected, and the millions came.
As I watched the live coverage on TV, I realized I was holding my breath in fear that something terrible would happen. When he stopped to bless children, I imagined the worst. What if some crazy were to try to make the headlines at his expense?
Isn’t it a shame how “terrorized” we have become?
I listened to his speech before a joint session of Congress in Washington D.C. In spite of his halting manner of speaking English, nothing got in the way of his message. I loved it when he used the simple wisdom of the Golden Rule “to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Pope Francis told the lawmakers: “If we want security, let us give security. If we want life, let us give life. If we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”
Senators, congressmen and everyone, everywhere: Listen up!
This was a sad week. I lost a beloved cousin. She was more than that. She was also my good friend.
Chiqui was well into her 80s, but was strong and energetic despite her tiny 90-pound frame. She was a special kind of woman, every inch a lady. I don’t remember her ever being rude or loud. She was always elegant, poised, impeccably put together, as if she were expecting company.
Above all she was a devoted mother. Her children were her life.
On my last visit to the Gold Coast, she had moved from her beautiful high-rise in touristy Surfers Paradise to a lovely bungalow in a retirement village in Arundel, and was enjoying her new friends.
We didn’t do much that week but we chatted until the wee hours, shared family memories, laughed until we cried.
Short of breath from a leaky valve in her heart, Chiqui still lawn bowled, did zumba, took walks, painted and drove her little Mercedes to church.
After a recent cruise with friends, Chiqui suffered a severe stroke. During the 10-day hospital ordeal, her four children were lost and forlorn, like little chicks with nowhere to roost. We kept in touch, prayed and waited. Monday, she went home to be with Jesus.
Today in sadness, our family celebrates the life of Chiqui Razon Cruz.
Prayer in Congress
At a recent session of the US House of Representatives, their guest chaplain was Kevin Myers, senior pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. I remember going to that beautiful church with my Atlanta family.
Let me share just a snippet from his simple prayer.
“The stress of political leadership can tempt us to sweep aside our convictions. Give us wisdom and grace to lead with courage.
“The problems in our nation and pressing decisions can divide us beyond reason. Would you give us discernment beyond ourselves for the sake of our country!
“May we act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God.”
And we say a resounding “Amen.”
After the prayer, when everyone rose to face the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, I listened intently for any changes and was heartened to hear them still say “one nation under God.” Bravo!
Recently someone wanted to remove God from the pledge to make it “politically correct.” Such nonsense!