Sunday, December 21, 2008

From Tricia Mitchell and Terri Fann. . .

Happy Holidays!

This year, Terri Fann and I wrote and recorded a song honoring the person from our youth who represented the spirit of Christmastime. The one who untangled the lights, baked the gingerbread, shopped, swept up crumbs and pine needles, and tucked us in at night. The person who gave us the precious holiday memories we have today.

Now as we pass on the magic of Christmas to our own children, we get the magnitude of that gift!

During the occasional moments of quiet this season, we'd love you to grab a tissue and join us in reflecting on those times, to remember those we love and those who have loved us, and to celebrate the joy of creating holiday magic for today's kids.

Here's Terri's beautiful version of "Me and the Tree". The link will take you to an index page where you can 1) Click "meandthetree.mp3" to listen, or 2) Right-click "meandthetree.mp3", choose "save link as" or "save target as" (depending on your Internet browser) which will allow you to download the song to your computer (for burning your own CD or putting the song on your iPod). This is a free download, and it will be available through the end of the season.

Me and the Tree © December 2008 Tricia Mitchell, BMI,, Terri Fann, ASCAP, Prod by Marvin Dykhuis, Terri Fann

Merry Christmas!

"What I don't like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day." --Phyllis Diller

"The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband."--Joan Rivers.

"Mail your packages early so the post office can lose them in time for Christmas."--Johnny Carson.

"I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included."--Bernard Manning.

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph."
--Shirley Temple

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall."--Larry Wilde.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
--Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Angels

From the top of a folding table at church,

we picked up two pieces of paper

shaped like angels,

with sticky note paper on the back.

By so doing,

we committed to the purchase of two gifts

for the children of an incarcerated parent.

It seemed simple enough at first.

First we drove, then shopped and chose.

Only as I tenderly folded the creases of the shiny wrapping

and tore the rectangles of tape

did I fully sense my unease.

Who on Earth did we think we were?

What right—and what power, really—did we have

To become a link in this particular chain?

Whose idea was it, to see if total strangers would (or could)

Put together what was certainly broken?

From you, the parent who can’t even guess what your child’s shoe size is,

Who writes on the little angel, “I hope I hear from you soon,”

You, without money to spend or presence to share…

To you, Young One, who has been told God knows what?

How might you make sense of this gesture?

Some hopeless part of us imagines the sneakers or the jacket:

Opened, then thrown casually aside.

I fret for way too long about whether they will see the gift receipts

And know to exchange them if the size is wrong.

I pine for the clue to shape or stature

That could make these items feel personal.

Our minds fill in the blanks with scenes from somewhere:

A mildewy apartment,

a TV that blares too loud,

a Christmas that is more punishing than peaceful.

We want to share our blessings,

To give a burst of delight,

How, without the reminder that our charity signifies a need,

Deep and stupendous,

That extends to the remaining days of the year?

We pray for forgiveness,

For our sins of omission and of commission.

We give up and just give.