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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Valentine Party

I wrote this little rhyme about 10 years ago, near as I can remember. A fun piece of information about "The Valentine Party," I can't explain how or why I wrote it. I sat down at the computer one day, found a blank page in "Word" with no idea what I was going to write and these verses just started rolling onto the screen. They came fast, one after another with barely time to type the last verse before my mind was rushing into the next one. I'm not sure exactly how long it took to complete it but I'm pretty sure it was under an hour.
Nothing like that had happened to me before and hasn't happened since. It was a fun experience. Hope you enjoy. cr

The Valentine Party

I had been planning it for weeks
Everything was set
The ladies in our church group
Would have the grandest party yet

I made my way to the front of the church
Perfectly coiffed and dressed
Announced our little party
And invited all ladies to be our guest

Next Monday night at 7:00 pm
We'll meet at my house and dine
And bring a card for our contest
"Who has the sweetest Valentine?"

I took my seat and began to dream
Yes, I tuned the preacher out
My party would be the best ever
There simply was no doubt

And so, on Monday next
Everything was in its place
Frannie had hosted last month
I couldn't wait to see her face!

The floor was swept, the sink all scrubbed
Not a trace of dust remained
I had skipped church the day before
But look at all I'd gained

Lacy Valentines and shiny hearts
Bedecked the house in red and white
My best china set the table
Just for this special night

The candles lit, flowers arranged
The dinner smelled divine
The caterer was quite expensive
But this was my night to shine

The guests began arriving
I greeted them at the door
Everyone who was "Anyone"
I could not ask for more

Then just as we sat down to eat
The doorbell rang again
Now who is that - all are here
My patience was wearing thin

I hurried to open the door and see
Who had dared interrupt my dinner
My mouth dropped open in horror
For at my doorstep stood Mary Penner

Mary came to church sometimes
Whenever she could get a ride
Her clothes were always old and worn
Did the woman have no pride?

Her hair wasn't the latest style
She talked a little different
Once I had said hello to her
But that was as far as it went

"Can I help you?" I questioned
As she stood there at my door
I looked down my nose at her
And the mismatched outfit she wore

I prayed that she would turn and leave
But my hopes were only fleeting
Her crooked teeth showed in a grin
"Is this the church ladies meeting?

Our group was rather exclusive
But of course she didn't know
I was thinking to myself
"How dare she spoil my show!"

I invited her in and took her coat
Introduced her around the table
I tried to hide my resentment
As well as I was able

Her table manners were lacking
And my anger didn't waver
They all complimented the food
But to me it had no flavor

But as the servers cleared the table
My black mood was lifting a bit
Time now for the Valentine contest
And I was sure that I would win it

I had hunted for it long and hard
Antique stores I searched were many
It was hundred-year-old Victorian
And I had paid a pretty penny

Round the table, each guest in turn
Shared the card that she had brought
Frannie's had come from a student
In the classroom where she taught

Janet had a decorated cake
That spelled out "You're the One"
Carol's card said "I love Grandma"
Handmade by her little grandson

Chocolates, roses, balloons and cards
One by one they shared
Each one special to their hearts
Evidence that someone cared

They oohed and aahed over mine
And how much I must have spent
But I could see it wasn't as sweet
As the ones that love had sent

I swallowed my disappointment
But then became even more vexed
When I looked around our circle
And saw that Mary's turn was next

She seemed almost embarrassed
And looked a bit dejected
She said, "I guess this meeting
Is not quite what I expected.

When I heard about a ladies group
I suppose I thought we might
Have a little Bible study
And so all I brought tonight

Was my old well-worn Bible
Hoping that what I heard
Would feed my hungry heart a bit
With morsels from His Word

But I reckon that my Bible here
Is the best Valentine I ever got
It's all about how He loves me
How my freedom from sin was bought."

She looked around at all of us
And we stared back at her
No one moved or said a word
But of one thing I was sure

Guilty fingers gripped my heart
I knew how wrong I'd been
My shaky voice said, "I believe
That Mary's card should win."

One by one each lady spoke up
"Mary" was the vote of every guest
We all knew without a doubt
That her Valentine was the best

We had all been so caught up
In our little social game
We had lost sight of our purpose
And we hung our heads in shame

Then Susan said, "I'll host next month
Everyone invite a buddy
Mary, we would all be honored
If you would lead our Bible study."

Mary grinned and nodded
Each guest hugged her as they passed
I waited until all were gone
Then spoke to her at last

"I've been so very wrong," I said
Tears ran unhindered down my face
"It's all right, my friend," she answered
"God never runs out of grace."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Warmth of Winter

I borrowed this title from one of my ‘books’ in the Seasons series. To some it may not make a lot of sense. Isn’t winter when it’s cold? Well, yeah, but I have found so many things about winter that warm my heart in ways the heat of summer never could. I think it makes perfect sense.
Long ago, huge and swollen from a summer pregnancy with my first child, my internal thermostat broke. Irreparably. I tease Ty that my current abhorrence of summer heat is his fault (it is) but whatever the case, ever since he was born, my ideal temperature is quite a bit cooler than that of the average person. Sometimes I think I could switch off the furnace in our house, go stand down in the basement with my arms sticking out and heat this house better than all that expensive propane we’re burning.
I know I’ve already lost some of you. By most standards, I’m weird. As a general rule, people seem to like warm weather. Sun, baseball, shorts, flip-flops, swimming, that sort of thing. Me, not so much. Winter is my favorite season of all. A few of my friends share this strange outlook (my FB friend Adrianne seems to agree with me) but mostly people just roll their eyes and shake their heads. They don’t get it.
January is my favorite month of the whole year. Perhaps you really don’t care to know why but I’m fixing to tell you anyway.
Cindy’s top 25 reasons for enjoying January
• Snow
• Fleece blankets
• Fuzzy socks
• Bowl games
• Angel’s gorgeous winter coat
• My anniversary
• Snowmen and snow angels
• Refreshing cold air
• Birthdays for me, my dad, Randon, a nephew and a niece
• Sweatshirts and hoodies
• K-State basketball
• Gloves in my coat pocket
• Hot coffee in the morning
• Gray cloudy days
• Lighting scented candles
• Chili in the crock pot
• A new calendar
• New Year’s Resolutions
• No air conditioning
• Kansas day (I love Kansas!)
• Icicles
• Early darkness
• Cold window glass
• Catalog clearance sales
• Seeing my breath in the cold air
Yes, I know. Some of the things on my list of ‘likes’ are probably the same things on your list of dislikes. But just for the record I do have some dislikes about this wonderful month such as W2s, snow days off of school, Nolan going back to Manhattan after break and some I won’t mention here. The point is, we all have things we like and dislike about every season, every month, every era of our lives. I firmly believe that we should look at the circumstances we find ourselves in at any given time and see the things we like about it, find things to make us smile. Looking for the negative, always having something to complain about or wish was different will not do us any favors. You’ve heard that attitude is 10% circumstances and 90% choice. Make the right choice – see the positive in everything that comes your way. It’s always there, sometimes just so well disguised we don’t see it.
And before you think I’m preaching at you, I need this little pep talk probably more so than anybody reading this. I may have January figured out, but wait until July gets here. I will be the one complaining the loudest when the heat of summer melts away my personal little igloo I like to live in. Remind me to go back and read my January blog about firework stand time….
So what if every season was the same? If it was perpetually January, would I be happy all the time? If July lasted forever (it does, doesn’t it?) would I be grouchy all the time? Hmm… don’t answer that. Just remember that July helps us enjoy January and/or vice-a-versa. Would we understand cheerful without ever knowing sadness? It’s the changing seasons that bring variety to our lives. Don’t wish for what you can’t have anyway. Find something to enjoy in the here and now and then do it. It’s really that simple.
Ecclesiastics 3:1-8