Thursday, December 24, 2009

Boycott XMas?

Recently I was driving to work and passed a church where I saw a sign that said "Boycott Xmas." It was followed by four more signs "Burma Shave style" proclaiming "love more," "buy less," "give more," and "worship wholly." At first glance the signs just didn't make sense. As I drove home later in the day, I saw the signs again and yes, I did agree that we should buy less, give more, and love more, and certainly I should worship my Lord wholly with all my heart, soul, and mind.

But "Boycott Xmas? I was somewhat offended by the message in front of a church. Why would I want to boycott Christmas? Don't Christians know that X is the Greek letter standing for Christ and that Xmas began as an abbreviation rather than an effort to take Christ out of Christmas? The Greek letter "X" has been used as a shortened form of Christ in many compounds, including Christmas, for more than 1000 years. Use of Xmas for Christmas goes back to the 18th century where the use of the Greek letter X was used for conciseness in many early writings. It was by no means devised by modern secularization to take Christ out of Christmas.

It bothers me that we as Christians have taken such offense at the use of Xmas in place of Christmas when we could be using it as a reminder of our Lord just as much as the word Christmas. I am not offended when I see the word "Xmas." Instead I see it as a shortened form of Christmas - often because there is not enough space to spell out the word. I would much rather see Xmas than the C-mas that I have seen at some places. At least X stands for Christ. Give me Xmas over "happy holidays," "season's greetings," and "winter holiday" anytime because I am reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Let's stop decrying the use of Xmas and use it as an opportunity to proclaim to the world the X of Xmas - Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord!

So Merry Xmas to all of you! Enjoy celebrating the birth of Jesus with your family and friends. Concentrate on the true "reason for the season." And be reminded to "buy less, give more, love more, and worship wholly." But please, don't boycott Xmas!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vacation - Part 3

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. We were going to visit Monticello again (we had been there several years ago), but out wonderful host Chris suggested that if we had enjoyed Monticello we would probably be interested in visiting Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson's summer retreat. We thought that sounded like a good idea so we set off over a winding mountain road toward Lynchburg. Believe me the road wound around and around in very serpentine directions down and up the mountains - it was actually worse than any of the curves on the Skyline Drive. I had to close my eyes and lean back against my seat and even then I felt nauseous. I was glad when we reached the main road again!

Poplar Forest was fascinating. Thomas Jefferson was ingenious in his architecture and designs. He had a penchant for octagons and so this house was also built as an octagon. Quite intriguing, really. The site is a work in progress, so even if we go back in several years, it will be different.

After visiting Poplar Forest we came back to the B&B via Bedford, VA where we stopped to see the D-Day memorial. It is quite a moving monument to our men and women who served during the invasion of Normandy. Back at the B&B we relaxed and read for awhile before dinner at the Southern Inn. I am certain that the world's best pecan pie is found there!

This morning after breakfast and visiting some more with our hosts, Chris and Linda Best, we headed home. If you are ever in the Lexington, VA area I would highly recommed their B&B, Applewood Inn as a place to stay. Out in the country, back a dirt road it is a picturesque place to relax and rest. This was our second opportunity to stay there and if we are in the area again, we will certainly make that our place to stay! By the way, the picture at the top of this blog was taken along the narrow, winding road leading back to the Applewood Inn last fall when we visited.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vacation - Part 2

We awoke to a beautiful day. Sitting in the little enclosed porch off our room, I could look out to the hillside and see the llamas. The sound of falling water from the little fountain both refreshed and soothed my spirits. It is just a wonderful place to relax.

After a delicious breakfast of hearty waffles prepared by Chris (he admits he never makes them the same way twice - a little like another cook I know very well), we got ready to go on our llama trek. And for those who wonder, a llama trek is really just a walk with the llama. Because it had been so rainy and wet, we took our trek down the driveway and out in the open area rather than up on the mountain. I was leading Pepe and Elvin had Jonas. Pepe was, in the words of his owners, in a grouchy mood. He did not want to stand still and had a lot of energy. Every time we would stop for a few moments he would go in circles around me. Llamas are interested creatures. They do not like to be hurried and will stop to eat as you are walking along. One needs to be patient and wait for them. It was a fun experience.

After we returned for our llama trek, we changed clothes and headed out for the day. We headed back to Rockbridge Winery, a delightful place we discovered last fall and then took a scenic explore through the back roads of Virginia. We ended up driving along part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, looking out over God's beautiful creation. We were on top of the world - or so it seemed.

Back in the valley again, we decided to stop at KFC and pick up meals to bring back to our B&B for our dinner because we didn't really feel like going out again. It was great to sit out on our little patio and enjoy the nature as we ate. A ruby throated hummingbird came to the lilies right in front of us, but we didn't have the camera handy to take a picture. We spent a relaxing evening reading and talking.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vacation - Part 1

We left home about 6:45 a.m. yesterday (Friday, June 12) morning to head out for a 4 day mini vacation in Lexington, VA. Stopped for breakfast at Cracker Barrel in Chambersburg - Elvin does love when he can have their catfish for breakfast. Since we knew we couldn't check in to our B&B until at least 3 p.m. and the day was at least partly sunny, we decided to drive part of the Skyline Drive.

The scenery was beautiful. It was clear enough to have good views although there have been times we have been on the Drive that we have been able to see much further. As we were waiting our turn to pay to get on the Drive, Elvin glanced in his rear view mirror and saw a bear. As we drove along the drive we saw a total of three bear, ten deer, a grouse, and a turkey. We also saw a blacksnake in the middle of the road - Elvin wasn't sure if it was dead or alive, but there was a car right behind us, so we couldn't stop to take a picture.

We got off the Skyline at Route 33 (about two thirds of the way south) and headed back over to Route 81. Just as we got to Route 81 near Harrisonburg we had torrential downpours. It rained so hard we could barely see to drive. I must say my hubby is a fantastic driver in adverse circumstances and weather conditions. I probably would have pulled over and hoped it went away. Instead he chose to continue on carefully and we eventually drove out of the storm. We had rain off and on the rest of the way south to our Bed and Breakfast.

We arrived here around 6 p.m., checked in, and then went out to find some dinner. This place is gorgeous - not only did we enjoy the hot tub but the view from our room is fabulous. More later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beginning of Summer

I'm not very good at blogging. It seems like I get so caught up in everyday life that I just don't get around to doing this. Maybe it's because I think I have to have a great idea to write about and I can't think of anything. But really, the thought for this blog was just to have a place to journal or write about my day, or whatever. Nothing earth shattering. Just me, experiencing life.

Today was the first official day of summer "vacation." For me that means wrapping up the remains of the last school year and heading full speed ahead into preparations for the new school year. But it was my first day of working at home for this summer. There is something really great about working at home, and somehow I seem to have no trouble working and putting in a full day's work. I like starting at 6 a.m. if I feel like it. I like taking the time out to have coffee with Nean, to watch the grandkids for a bit, and just the more relaxed pace than being in the office behind a desk. Too bad everybody can't have the experience of working at home.

So today, I enjoyed having coffee with my daughter. I was even able to watch Dante while she took Zoë to the doctor - poor little tyke is running a fever and apparently her throat is very raw and red (but no strep!). I was even able to do a few loads of laundry in preparation for vacation in between working.

And now it's evening - and tomorrow is the start of our mini vacation. Four days away - back to the great little B&B we stayed at last fall in Lexington, VA. I am so ready for vacation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm "Maritorious"

I found a new word today to describe me. I'm maritorious. Every morning on my way to work I have WDAC on my car radio. I love the "word of the day" segment each morning. This morning's word was "maritorious." The announcer gave the definition of "being excessively fond of one's husband." That got me to thinking. Can one really be excessive in one's fondness to the person with whom she has chosen to spend her life?

I mean, think about it. We are commanded to love our spouses. So how much is too much? When does it become excessive? It seems to me there can't really be an excessiveness when it comes to fondness for the one you love more than life itself! But if there is, then I am content to be maritorious - because I am, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, excessively fond of my husband.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, if you are a husband who is excessively devoted to your wife you are "uxorious."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Snowy Surprise!

So I'm not too great at keeping up my blog on a daily or even a weekly basis, but life sure is busy and I guess this blog is not top priority. Keeping up with the daily demands of a full time job, coming home to fix dinner, etc., etc. and also trying to occasionally post on the blog I started for recording memories from myself and my siblings . . . well, enough with the excuses!

I love surprises! And it is especially neat to realize that I have been given a special surprise from my heavenly Father. In spite of the inconvenience of the surprise snowstorm this week, I did enjoy looking out and enjoying the beauty of that 12 inches of snow we received. And it is still beautiful in our area three days later.

I'm not a weather person - I usually ask my wonderful hubby what the weather for the day will be when I am getting dressed in the morning. However, in my position as director of a preschool and kindergarten program, one of my tasks is to make the decision whether or not we will have a delay or cancellation, so I pay pretty close attention to the possible advent of snow in the wintertime. So on Tuesday as the weatherman was calling for flurries throughout the day, I wasn't too concerned. Even when Elvin came home about 7 in the evening and said it was snowing rather heavily, I really wasn't too concerned. But as I listened to the nightly news at 11 before going to bed, I heard the weatherman talking about this strange weather anomaly that was occurring where it was snowing at the rate of 2-3 inches per hour in a very narrow band of about an 8 mile width in part of Lancaster County that included Lititz and Manheim Township, I paid attention. I looked out the window and sure enough it was snowing and there were several inches on the ground.

But it was still a big surprise to wake up Wednesday morning and see 12 inches in our backyard. It was a light, fluffy snow and the trees were hanging heavy with snow, but it was oh so beautiful. I was reminded once again, that try as we might man does not control the weather and even our wonderful modern technology misses the boat occasionally. God was in control and He decided to surprise us by covering the earth with the beauty of the freshly fallen snow. He baffled even the weatherman who could neither predict that we would have so much snow or figure out exactly why it was such a narrow area that was hit. After making the early morning calls to the staff and calling the radio and TV stations and calling for a two hour delay, it was wonderful to step outside and take in the beauty all around me. Even the long slow drive (twice as long as normal) to my 8:30 meeting gave me time to enjoy the snowy surroundings.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tired of Being Sick

Do you know how much I suddenly appreciate the blessings of good health? Probably not, unless you have just experienced a week such as I have. I have unfortunately succumbed to the stomach virus/flu bug that is running rampant in the area and so I have had a miserable week. It started Tuesday morning; here it is Friday afternoon and I really can't say that I am back to health. Tuesday afternoon I was totally wiped out. Laid on the couch watching TV -- actually more sleeping with the TV on than actually watching it. I was trying to watch because if you recall that was the day of the impending ice storm and I had to know what was going on in case I had to call for an early dismissal. (Oh, the "joys" of being the director of a preschool/kindergarten program!) I really couldn't tell you what was on TV since I was in and out of consciousness most of the afternoon and evening. Up by 5 the next morning to again check the weather and see if we needed to have a delay, I realized I was so totally exhausted and still not feeling well. So Day 2 of the illness commenced.

Finally, by early afternoon, I felt I was getting over the stomach and intestinal stuff and actually ate a little soup and did a little work from home. But alas, it wasn't over. By early evening the "cold" symptons set in and I spent several hours sneezing, blowing my nose, coughing - you know the drill. Well, I dragged myself to work yesterday; not sure why, but I did and managed to get a little bit of work done; came home about three and crashed. Got up today, felt a bit better, and went to work until one when I decided it was time to quit, come home, rest up and try to kick this cold.

On the way home, I was thinking about how often I take good health (or at least relatively normal health) for granted. I can get up and go to work without thinking a whole lot about how I feel. I'm looking forward to the return of that feeling and hoping it will be soon -- very, very soon.