Posted in Food, Holidays, Introspection

I Dread Christmas by Ginger Keller Gannaway

I Dread Christmas

by Ginger Keller Gannawayimg_1589

     Like the cliched tangle of several strands of colored lights, I am a mess of knotted stress and on-and-off joy. For me, the Christmas smiles and laughs of surprise get swept away by the demands and deadlines of consumerism. First of all, why do we put so much money, effort, and worry into a holiday season? We spend hours spending dollars we cannot easily spare on presents most folks do not truly need or want. We drag out dusty decorations and spend more hours making our homes “merry and bright” for a few weeks of over-hyped, commercialized holiness. Why?
Perhaps when I was a kid or when my 20-something sons were kids, I enjoyed the getting and the giving. Back then we had Santa’s magic and loads of brand new playthings. Now I mainly see just the aftermath of the Christmas explosion: cookie crumbs, dirty napkins, discarded toys, and dead pine needles. And after the overdone turkey, off-key caroling, and cranky kids, all the cleaning and organizing and putting away looms large. Why?
I know. I know. “Jesus is the reason for the season.” But how do days and days of shopping and decorating and shopping and planning and shopping and cleaning and shopping and cooking and shopping and traveling and shopping and visiting and shopping add up to celebrating the birth of a savior who praised love over possessions?
Call me Scrooge or the Grinch or just a grumpy old lady. This is my truth. Christmas comes too soon and demands too much from our bank accounts and our time sheets. I enjoy holiday time with my family . I savor our delicious holiday meal. I enjoy the thrill of opening presents (and watching others do the same). I still get misty-eyed when singing Christmas carols. But I need to turn the whole thing down several notches. Today is December 14 and I have not bought my sons a single present. May I stick with my “single gift for each person” plan. My home has not a single decoration. May we simply trim the tree on December 24 and call it Christmas.
A picture of a Finnish proverb is taped above my desk:
“Happiness is a place between too little and too much.”img_3375
May this thought rule my life and especially my Christmas this year. A shorter and simpler holiday leaves me more time for true joy and peace.

Posted in cooking with love, Grandchildren, Grandmother, I love you, Soul Food, Uncategorized

Soul Food by Nancy Malcolm

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My husband cooks with love.  Just ask him and he will say it’s true.  He thinks about what he wants to prepare, shops carefully and then loving cooks each dish….Soul Food.  He says he learned to cook from his Granny because she too, cooked with love.

People often refer to cornbread, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese as soul food.  Food that comforts and soothes the soul; calming and healing as it goes down.  Soul food is premeditated, planned and prepared.  Quite often, soul food is as looked forward to as a gift..just waiting to be opened.

But for me, soul food comes in a different package.  It isn’t creamed or fried.  It isn’t baked or frosted.  It is ingested through other senses and may be as much of a nuance as it is tangible.

Sometimes my grandson will look up at me and smile and kiss my hand.  Soul Food.  His smile and tender touch feed my soul with a warmth and satisfaction unequaled by chocolate cake or sweet potatoes.

Every morning, I rise early and quietly have my ‘sittin ugly’ time.  I fix my coffee, find my glasses and gather my soul food…inspirational reading, pen and paper and a soft corner of the couch…all mine.  Prayers, meditation, and coffee?  Soul food, plain and simple.

Most days I take a walk in my neighborhood or a nearby park.  Blue skies, green grass, and bright-colored flowers all make up my soul food plate.  A scoop of sunshine, a dollop of beautiful trees and a pinch of fresh air…stir it all together and wa la..soul food.

Soul food, food for the soul is always tasty.  It has just the right amount of savory and sweet, for you see, sometimes soul food isn’t what you want…it’s what you need.  Like a friend listening to your heartache and helping you see the gift within your pain.  Or an answered prayer that was ‘no, not yet’, instead of yes, yet turned out to be best.

Whether you cook with love or just love the cook, your soul food is ready for you right on time.  Our creator makes it so, surprising us with a different menu…a variety of tasty morsels, every day.  Look forward to your next delicious bite!  Yum-Yum and hallelujah!

Posted in Aging process, Caring for others, Old Age, Uncategorized

Home

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It will happen to all of us, this aging process.  If we are ‘lucky’ enough, we will grow old and eventually need more care, possibly more care than our families can provide.  This is a part of life.

 

Perhaps, we are the ones making choices for our loved ones.  We are making decisions on where to live and how to be cared for.  “This is your new home,” we say.  

 

I see it in their eyes and feel it in the atmosphere; “This is not my home.” they think.  Oh, some people adjust, like Auntie Sue.  She was positive, grateful and kind no matter her circumstance; no matter where she was.  But it is hard for others.  It’s not familiar or comfortable…it doesn’t sound like home or smell like home.  “My heart is not here,” they think.  “I want to go home.”

 

I don’t have a response or even an alternative suggestion; I wish I did.  For it is not always possible to give our loved ones the answers they want.  So, we dig deep into our souls and bring out our bowels of compassion, love and care.  We remember the dignity of others.  We respect privacy and requests for certain things….familiar things.  We do the best we can.

 

Yes, it will happen to all of us, this aging process; if we are ‘lucky’.

 

Posted in Grandchildren

Little People….Big Conversations

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Written by:  Nancy Malcolm

Recently, I had the privilege of driving with two of my grandsons in the car.  I was instantly reminded of days gone by when my daughters were younger and I would be taking one of them and a friend somewhere.  Oh, the conversations they would have!

But, as life has unfolded, we are a true blended family now, my husband and I.  We each maintain good relationships with our ex-spouses and often, we are all together at family events because of our children.

On this particular drive, one of the boys asked me, “Did you know PaPa used to be married to Nana?”  The other one, in shock said, “They did not….did they?”  I said that yes, I knew that and before I could go any further, they were into a discussion about life, divorce and marriage.  I proceeded to explain the situation in simple terms, but as we all know, it’s not a simple matter.  Still, as we drove, I was glad they felt comfortable enough to ask me questions and to share their thoughts.

A big part of me is gut wrenchingly sad that these two precious boys even know about divorce, but life rarely fits into a cookie cutter mold of perfection.  I wish I could make their little lives smooth, peaceful and worry-free forever.  I know I cannot control other people’s behavior or tell them how to live their lives; however, I can trust in a power greater than myself to take care of these boys and send blessings their way.  I can be a loving Nannie and be the best grandparent I can be.  I can provide a safe and accepting home for visits and car ride discussions.

And as is the case with little boys, as suddenly as that conversation started, it ended and their latest Lego purchase took center stage.  Just for today, I can let go of worry and enjoy the ride.

Posted in Uncategorized

Letter to Auntie Sue

 

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Letter to precious Auntie Sue   by  Nancy Malcolm

 

Dear Auntie Sue,

I miss you something fierce!  I remember, when I would call to say I was coming for a visit, and you would say, “Oh honey, I’m so lonesome…I miss you something fierce!”

Things are changing here without you.  People, situations and behaviors that might bemuse you.  I’m so grateful for the time we had.  You taught me to have a positive attitude and you showed me it was possible to say something nice about everyone.  Everyone.

Thank you for always loving me; for always being glad to see me.  Thank you for your humor and grace; your gift of complimenting others.  Thank you for your ready smile and rich laughter.  You loved to dance and I bet up where you are…your walker is parked and you are dancing on a floor made of gold.  I know you are having a blast, you always said you would.  But for me?

I miss you something fierce.
Love, Nancy