The rain last week gave us a brief glimpse of snow in the local San Gabriel Mountains. It's unusual to see so much snow there, and it didn't last long. But the clear skies, washed by the rain, provided an excellent view for me from the top of the public parking structure in downtown Downey.
"I fight for fairness. When I see that things are not fair, that triggers the anger in me and I do what I can to right the wrong. Last semester, the class I was teaching, Beginning Light Design, got canceled after the third class meeting. This was particularly unfair because we had 12 students, which is a reasonable amount. But Administration arbitrarily decided to make 16 the magic number to sustain a class. I had several students that needed this class to graduate this semester. It was a required class for their major. I made a big enough stink about this injustice that I'm not back teaching this semester. I got several people angry at me in the administration. The people that I think should be out, the ones that made the arbitrary decision regarding the minimum size of the class, are still there. I think that's unfair also.
"I remember when I was a little girl, my mom telling me, 'It will all get better before you get married. Just relax, it will get better.' But, the week before I got married was so stressful that I broke out in fever blisters. When I saw my mom that week I said, 'Mom, this is not going to get better before I get married.' Another thing my mom did just to save any argument was, if we had a question, like when we were driving and I would ask, 'Mom, what kind of tree is that?' she would make up an answer. So, there were tons of things I thought were gospel truth, but my mom didn't have a clue and was basically lying to us just to keep us quiet.
"I'm looking forward to several short trips I'll be taking this year. One is, my sisters and I will be visiting a cousin that we haven't seen in 40 years. We got back in touch with her after my mom died and we were cleaning things out. She is the daughter of my mom's brother and he died rather young at 48. This opened a can of worms. His wife had been an alcoholic as a result of being severely depressed. She had even had electro-shock therapy. While my cousin was young they had lived with our grandmother, but the stress was too much for my grandmother, she couldn't hack it any more, so they moved to Texas. Although my mom was in contact with them through Christmas cards and the like, there was always tentative feelings left regarding the struggle with my grandmother when they lived out here. It just wasn't a close relationship. But we had some things of my uncle's that we wanted to get back to them.
"I got in touch with her through Facebook and there have been several interchanges via email and stuff. Since then we have learned a lot about what was going on. Her mom finally has gotten some help and now we are going back there to meet her. She hasn't had a real stable life herself. She's been in a couple of marriages. Her daughter and her three grandchildren live with her so we won't be staying at the house. But we are anxious to see her. She asked us a while ago if any of us had any extra things that my grandmother had crocheted. My grandmother was quite the crocheter. I had the most so I sent her a box of stuff. And I may send one more thing. It's a bed-size white crocheted bedspread that I'm thinking of bringing to her when we go. I think she would appreciate it."
P.S. Carol was here in Downey for the first time visiting a friend. While here, she went to Downey Landing to Christmas shop. She went to Marshall's and Pier One. She was impressed with how friendly and gracious the staff were. Always greeting her with sincerity. It made her shopping more pleasant.
"The way I want my children to be like me is to be drawn to God. I love God so much, I love Jesus and I love to pray. When you love something, when you've found some place great to eat, you tell others, 'You've got to eat here. The food is great.' Because you want to share the source of your joy with others so they can feel the same joy. So, I want my children to enjoy that goodness of God. I love God and I know the power of prayer. I know the impact of having a relationship with Jesus Christ on my life. So, I pray this prayer a lot, 'God, turn my children's hearts towards you.' I pray the scriptures for my children. You can't go wrong when you pray appropriate scriptures for you children.
"I've committed my life to Christ. I'm a single mom. I don't date and I've said, 'Lord, I'm your vessel, just use me.' So, I want my kids to have that attitude of 'We don't care what the World thinks. It matters what God thinks.' People are asking, 'Why don't you date? Get a boyfriend.' But, I'm so happy. I have such peace and I'm so content even in the difficult situations in my life. I want that for my kids, and others that I care about, but especially for my kids. But you can only get that from the peace of knowing Christ.
"A character trait of mine that I don't want my children to replicate in their lives is having a fear of rejection or of what others think of them. Scripture says that God's perfect love casts out fear. So, I want my kids to have the character trait that trusts God in every situation. Including when others say negative things about us of when the World looks down on us. My children have been created in the image of God, so God wants them to act like it and not be afraid of what the World thinks. I want them to believe that God's love covers them and that they have the mindset that they have nothing to fear, including what others think or say. Because it won't change who they are. I want them to be confident in who they are. It doesn't matter what's said or an event that happens or a misdeed that's done to them. Nothing changes the truth that they are loved by God. And they can be confident in that."
P.S. Mari was praying for me when I took this picture
Saturday was windy and rainy and the perfect day to stay inside with the fireplace going. Sunday started out gloomy, but I headed out to run some errands anyway. As I was walking out of Target, I was surprised by this rainbow. It looks so small in the picture, but it seemed so brilliant at the time. I wasn't the only one stopping to appreciate it and take a picture. There is something about a rainbow—seeing one always seems like a gift.
Gratitude is the real treasure God wants us to find, because it isn't the pot of gold but the rainbow that colors our world. ~ Richelle E. Goodrich
For the Thanksgiving long weekend, Wednesday evening after 5pm is supposed to be the absolute worst time to hit the road. I guess everyone who is leaving town wants to leave as soon as they finish work on Wednesday.
But coming home is a little bit different. People head home on different days, and by Sunday afternoon, traffic—at least in this section of the I5 passing through Downey—is back to normal.
The weekend of Thanksgiving is the beginning of many things, depending on who you are. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. Today (Black Friday) is the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. And for those with a lot of energy, today is the day to get out those Christmas decorations and light up your house.
And so, on my walk tonight (still walking off those Thanksgiving leftovers), I saw the first decorated house in my neighborhood, all lit up and colorful. Just a taste of what we can look forward to over the next few weeks.
Each Thanksgiving, as families grow or shrink, the big question for all of us is, "who is going to cook what?" As I went to my local Ralph's supermarket today, I noticed this line of people at the Boston Market. It seems the drive-thru became the walk-thru. I learned that they had pre-ordered their Thanksgiving dinner and were here to pick it up. Their answer to the big question was to let someone else do the cooking and they would enjoy the meal and the added time doing what they wanted to do on Thanksgiving.
Whoever prepared the meal you enjoyed today, my hope is that you remember the blessings you have received this year and tell the people involved.