Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swedish Christmas, Part 1

We've been in full swing with traditional Christmas preparations around here this weekend, and I thought I'd share. We're a mix of Swedish and American traditions, so it's rather a hodge-podge sorta blend of his, mine, and ours. I love it. But don't worry, I'm not going to bore you (I hope) with too many details, but share a few things you might not know about since (I'm guessing) all of you aren't Swedish.

I think the most Swedish thing we do is our real Christmas tree. Unless things have changed in my home country since my 1974 emigration, no Swede has an artificial tree. (I even called The Swede to confirm this.) My Sissie and Mr. Clean head up into the mountains for trees for the whole family each year. I'm so grateful for this service, and eagerly await my delivered tree. We usually get a wonderful Charlie Brown tree of which we are very proud. This year though, they hit the jackpot because our tree is just absolutely gorgeous. I might show you a picture, but as of this minute, it's only half decorated.

The Engineer has, with a sigh of relief, yet great difficulty, delegated the placing of the lights to YellowBoy. This is no small passing of the torch. He's famous for using a ridiculous amount of lights to wrap each individual branch as he moves up the tree. Very slowly. We're talking 500+ lights on a seven foot tree and it takes FOREVER. Not kidding. Engineers don't idle well, and he's all engineer. Idle you say? How could putting up lights be idle? Yeah, you're asking the wrong person.

I've never been one for theme trees. You've seen them. Perfectly coordinated, balls, beads, garland, ribbons, etc. Not at my house. You'll find the Spiderman that Jake drew as a young child, precariously still hanging from a piece of yarn. The glitter-dosed popsicle stars with the school picture at the center. The stale marshmallow snowmen holding an “I love you, Mom!” sign. Yes, it's hard for me to have all the ornaments clustered in one place, with crooked lights, and the top half of the tree bare.  But my focus isn't on decorating, it's on my kids and the traditions they cherish. We had a great time listening to Christmas music and working together. As we get closer to celebrating our Savior's birth, I'll share more about Swedish Christmas. What are your family's favorite traditions?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Latest Project

It's good to be back! I feel like I owe an explanation...but I'm not quite ready to do that. Life is not just “Good”, sometimes, it's hard. I've been in “hard” for a while. But I do have a blessing to share. I'm soon to be published!

The book I'm involved with is called Until They Have Faces. I'm one of over 40 or so authors to contribute to this fundraising project. The purpose is to raise awareness about and tell the stories of the homeless in our county. Each section includes a professional portrait of the subject, and then his or her story, each one from a different author. We also interviewed and photographed people whose careers intersect with the homeless community. I interviewed Ian Engle who is the director of Center for People with Disabilities in Boulder, CO.

I'm thrilled to be part of this group effort! This coffee table book release will be in February, and I'll share the info should you want to buy a copy for yourself and in so doing, help the efforts to raise funds and awareness. If you feel like checking it out, this is the blog chronicling the process of the project.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Flash Friday 55: Until They Have Faces

He isn't invisible
holding the sign, but
he probably wants
since he won't meet my eyes

Easier, to hide in the stereotype
Pan-handling bum, flying the
God Bless Anything Helps”
than speak truth
his story

I wave him over, hand him my ashtray
ten bucks in change,
now a grin,
and I see.

Flash Friday 55 is hosted by the g-man over at Mr.Knowitall
Place your link and play along.

Yes, I've been gone a while...and you'll hear the story someday.  Today is not that day.