Goodbye 2014

oWell, it’s finally come – the end of 2014.

December 31 slipped in faster than I’d hoped.

Too much living crammed into too few hours, and not enough time spent on making hopes and dreams come true.

That’s one mistake made in 2014.  I won’t broach the others.  No need. The list would be long and I’d prefer to invest my time elsewhere.

As I glance back over the past 12 months, I see success far more than I see failure, happiness more than tears, health and not illness.  2014 was a good year – a year that will launch me into 2015 upright and eager.

Things remaining on my 2014 To Do List will not roll automatically onto or into 2015. Perhaps there was a reason they were unfulfilled – a reason that needs to be explored and not ignored.

2014 will soon be little more than a bundle of memories, tangible and intangible, captured in words and pictures, thoughts and things.

2015 will see a more narrow focus – that of leaning hard into what’s important.

Funny thing is – what’s important to me probably won’t be to anyone else.

😉

Happy New Year!  Ready or not, here it comes!

Momma’s Cooking

It’s positioned on the ceiling, right outside the kitchen door that leads into our home office.

White, round, unmoving, and silent – it appears innocuous and one could easily overlook it because it blends into the white ceiling on which it’s attached.

When I sit at my computer, I am below and about 18 inches to the left of it. I usually pay it no mind.

Usually.

Occasionally, when I’m cooking, it announces its presence in shrill, demanding tones that set my heart pounding and me to action.

My first response is to clap my hands over my ears and vacate the room.  My second is to flip on the fan above the stove.  My third is to grab a dishtowel and wave it at the noisy intrusion until it stops screaming.

“What’s going on?” is a question that’s been asked many times (by Hubby, neighbors, relatives) as the smoke detector screeched its alert. And, it was/is usually answered by my children with two simple words.

“Momma’s cooking.”

Moth Invasion

It began with one.

A tiny one –  delicate, harmless….

And, then there were two.

Two little moths…

I should have known where this was going – I’d been there before.

A box of infested birdseed had spawned a flurry of moths.  But, that was another house, another state, several years ago.

Yes, we moved.  And, yes, when we moved daughter brought her bird with her.  And, yes, I carefully cleaned and disinfected everything with the intent of bringing NO moths with us.

But, here we are again.

Whether it’s because of something we brought with us or bought here is of little consequence.

The fact is:

what began with one has grown to number hundreds….

And, no.  I didn’t kill the first one.  I should have.  Should have killed it instantly, and every one I saw thereafter.

Why not?

Good question.

Perhaps I didn’t kill them because I’d been taught NOT to by my dad.   Poor candlefly…can’t help but be who and what it is – creature of darkness drawn to light.  A gentle soul who does no harm. Only a mean fellow would kill such a gentle, helpless creature.

(Pause.)

And, so I gave grace and showed mercy to the occasional moth that appeared on my wall or ceiling.

Whether stupid or blind, or simply not thinking, I’m not sure what words to hang my lack of attention and forethought to.  But, the fact remains that I neglected to act swiftly and decisively.  And we were soon overrun by moths.

Tiny moths.  Little, delicate, fluttery moths.

The first moth I killed, was killed with deep regret and given an apology.  I truly felt bad about breaking my dad’s rule – you don’t kill moths.

The second moth I killed also received an apology. As did the third and fourth and fifth.  I was deeply saddened by my need to kill them.  I wanted to catch them and release them outside, but they would have frozen.

But, when Daughter sounded the alarm one morning with, “Um…Mom, you’d better come look at this…,” everything changed.  As I approached her bedroom door, I waved off a drove of exiting moths. One look at her bedroom ceiling and walls hardened my heart and set my resolve.

No more grace. No more mercy. No more looking the other way.  And, no more apologies. This was war.  And, I would be victorious!

Harmless?!? Ha!

Gentle soul?!? Bah!

Only a mean fellow would kill them? Well, watch me put on my mean fellow face!

I grabbed the ShopVac, extended the wand to reach 15 feet, and went to work.  I sucked up every gentle soul I could find.

Bwahahahahahahahaha.

There’s nothing gentle about these moths.  They have one goal and that’s to overrun my house. Candleflies they are not.  Gentle souls – nope.  These are pantry moths and my delay has cost me more than just frustration.  It’s an all out war against them.  Eradication will be difficult and time consuming. And, it will mean a constant attack on our part.

And, to be honest, I can think of a lot better things to do with my time than to vacuum moths and moth larvae, and chase after them with my fly swatter.  Looks like my Christmas time off will be spent cleaning out and cleaning up and killing off.

Oh, how I wish I’d taken action before the first moth ever appeared.  Yes, there were precautions I could have taken.  Remember? I’ve been here before.

Living life with my head stuck in the sand isn’t wise.  Inattention to detail only makes matters worse.  Nothing changes for the better without intentional action on my part.

Excuse me – a moth just flitted past me.

Where’s my fly swatter?!?

Die moth! DIE!

15 Days Til Christmas

I checked the calendar, then checked again.

I counted twice.

1) 10th

2) 11th

3) 12th

4) 13th

5) 14th

6) 15th

7) 16th

8) 17th

9) 18th

10) 19th

11) 20th

12) 21st

13) 22nd

14) 23rd

15) 24th

Make that 3 times….

There are 15 days til Christmas, not counting today.

Today is here.  (No need to count it.)  Christmas is…Christmas! (No need to count it.)

I’ve 15 days….

My tree is not up.  My house is not clean. The gifts are not bought. Christmas cards are not sent.

I sing the carols.  And, I attend the parties.

But, my heart is not in it.  My mind doesn’t celebrate.  It’s a burden and a hassle – an intrusion…interruption…imposition….

Don’t get me wrong.  I know the Reason for the season.  It’s all about giving (I mean getting) and doing good to others (I mean getting all the good I can) and celebrating the KING of Creation (I mean the king of commerce) and family, food and fun (meaning self).

Lest you label me Grinch, let me explain my dilemma.

My neighbor is Kurdish. “It is our culture, you understand,” these are the words expressed to explain the fasts and celebrations experienced as they move through the year.

And, once, only once, three words were added: “It is our culture, you understand, like your Christmas.”

“Like your Christmas” – WHAT?  We celebrate Christmas because it’s who we are culturally?  The calendar rolls toward the end of the year and culture dictates CELEBRATE!?

Um…yeah.

Truly…what religious significance does Christmas have?

“Christ was born today” is what the song says.  Do I believe that? No. I don’t believe Jesus was born on December 25 any more than I believe Rudolph pulls Santa’s sleigh.

Do I think it’s good to celebrate Jesus’ birth? I do think it’s good for Christians to celebrate the coming of the Christ, the Messiah…Jesus.  It’s a celebration of Christianity that should spill over onto those around us.  But, it shouldn’t be a cultural celebration.  And, it shouldn’t be consumer driven.  And…it shouldn’t be in December. That confuses the message of who Jesus is and why Jesus was born (and when).

A cultural, consumer driven holiday – that’s what it’s become here in the US.  Perhaps…just perhaps that’s what it’s always been.

My neighbor created a maelstrom within me – who am I culturally – and who I am religiously (dare I say spiritually?) – that raises the question: What happens when who I am culturally conflicts with what I believe religiously and hold to be true spiritually?

For too long culture and religion have been intertwined where Christianity is concerned. Traditions – whether born in culture or religion decree what we do, when and how.  Some say our culture reflects our religion.  Perhaps that’s true.  As I look around me, I sincerely hope not.

Perhaps it’s time for this Christian to step away from Christmas and take a long hard look at what I do and why I do it.  And, see which (culture or religion) is the driving force behind what I celebrate and how (and why).

We Christians make so much of Christmas. A month of celebrations and a year of planning.  We say we’re celebrating the birthday of King Jesus. But, if that were the case wouldn’t all the $ spent go toward making His kingdom a reality for all?

I’m torn and confused. My culture and traditions are Christian.  My religion is, too. But, spiritually, I feel drawn to abandon all and simply embrace Jesus and the kingdom of God He spoke of.

Culturally, that’s a radical attitude.  Religiously, it’s considered heretical. Spiritually…ah…would that not be freeing?