Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Twenty years ago I found a picture book, The Table Where the Rich People Sit. It's one of my favorites. 

Growing up just outside of San Francisco in the '60's, I wanted to be a hippie. I embraced the idea of living with less, and being content. The book, written for young people but appreciated by adults, shares those ideals. 

The pen and color wash illustrations are minimal in detail.  The limited hues hint at the spare sand and hill desert setting.

Mountain Girl, the adolescent narrator, calls a family meeting to discuss their poverty. As an example she points to their scratched, hand-crafted, repurposed dining table, proof they aren't rich.

So her parents introduce her to their unconventional economy.

"We don't just take our pay in cash, you know. We have a special plan so we get paid in sunsets, too" her mother says. And they start the bookkeeping with a credit of $20,000.

They add generous amounts for dad's pleasure of working where he can sing. They get a bonus for the unique color of a cactus bloom, the presence of day-loving and nocturnal birds. Finally they add the value Mountain Girl brings to their lives, including her list-making abilities. At a whopping one million dollars, she brings the family assets up to $4,055,000. 

When she considers her ledger, all on the plus side, it doesn't seem important to add the actual cash they earn. "I suggest it shouldn't even be on a list or our kind of riches."

When I first read this wonderful book I laughed out loud. I had two Mountain Girls at home who complained about our one-car status and having to use public transportation. They thought our decision to not spend money on a TV was ridiculous, while I counted the hours of reading aloud to them as pure gold.

I really wanted the oral reading of this book to be part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Sadly, it didn't catch on.  Perhaps this year, as we scrunch husbands, four kids and a baby around the table, I'll try again. I want us to always be mindful that we are blessed beyond reckoning, but still it's good to count those blessings.

I pray you will cherish your time together next week as you sit at the table with the rich people. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oreo Turkey Cookies

Here's a fun cookie craft to do with the grandkids while you're waiting for the turkey to cook, or afterwards when they get tired of watching football.  Follow the link to the recipe.

I suggest you use frosting, I tried to hold everything together with peanut butter, and well--you can see ours don't look like theirs! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Make a pumpkin vase for Thanksgiving

My grandchildren enjoyed creating this table decoration. 

First they scraped out all of the seeds. We cleaned and roasted them. 
They really were delicious.

Then, we walked through the neighborhood clipping little pieces of greenery and dried grass to add to the flowers. (It's okay, we didn't go into anyone's private yard.)

Finally we put a jar inside the pumpkin filled it water and created our floral arrangement! It lasted for three weeks.

The Betther Homes and Gardens website has some lovely ideas.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

1,000th Gift

My list of blessings numbered 999.  I decided to hold open the space for number 1000 in case God should surprise me.

 For eighteen months I chronicled all sorts of these little gifts: the colors in the sky, the cardinal feeding his young with the oats my husband put out for him each morning, the powerful sweet scent from the miniature holly flowers, the ordinary and treasured kindness of my husband. Nothing miraculous. No big deal. 

me and Marina 9 years ago!
That very night, with a decidedly ungrateful attitude, I participated in the church's trunk-or-treat project. A feminine voice called "Mrs. Glover!" from across the room. In a second a former student captured me in a robust hug. 

Oh, I really liked this spunky and cheerful girl.  She'd grown into a determined and lovely woman. Her darling 4 year old batman watched us.  She bent over to his level and said, "This is my teacher!" His eyes grew two sizes, and he turned to announce this amazing news to the nearest person.

We updated each other. I got more hugs. I commiserated about a difficulty she had shared via Facebook, but was now thankfully resolved. We promised to get together soon. 

It was a welcome and unexpected reunion. It reminded me of a bible verse. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father..." James 1:17 

At home I paused before writing of our visit and thought--why quit?  Marina's generous affection finished off the first thousand gifts, and started the second.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Halloween P.S.

I saw a trick-or-treater in leggings, a mini-dress, a vest, and a thin piece of lace wrapped around her fore head with a feather dangling above her ear.   "What are you supposed to be?" I asked. 

"A hippie." 

I laughed. She didn't look like any hippie I'd seen hanging around San Francisco in the 60's. 

Then I asked my grand-daughter (age 6) what costume she'd worn for Halloween. 

"I was a flower child. My dress had flowers and peace signs."

Oh, my, the vestments of my generation have become artifacts to another.

What we were is now a costume.