Ida has been sloshing over the middle of North Carolina for a few days now. The local meteorologist has been squawking about the wind and rain, and Rick Sanchez' "Fotos del Dia" showed a huge mudslide in Tennessee with boulders the size of pickup trucks. Yikes. Not to mention it's 48 degrees out. "Ida" sworn I left hurricanes behind when I left Charleston...sneaky storm. Raincoats and umbrellas are useless in weather like this: your lower half gets totally drenched by horizontal rain and your umbrella gets completely turned inside out by upward gusting wind. It's best just to call in sick. Stay in bed. or at least in your pajamas.
I cracked. I crumbled. I caved. I decorated. Well, I decorated as much as I could. No tree as of yet because, let's face it--it's still the beginning of November--but I put up a few strands of lights, busted out the green velvet lined table runner, threw down a red and white plaid kitchen rug and broke out the grey and red snowflake dishtowels. And I made some pine cone ornaments. All while Ida was hammering against my windows. First, I cleaned though. My mama didn't raise no fool--clean first, decorate second. That way when people are marveling at your clever, homemade, uniquely "you" decorations, they won't be totally grossed out and put off by a layer of grime stealing the show from the holly you hauled out. Clean the halls, then deck them.
The things that I love about Christmas are the things that, as a little kid, I looked forward to every year. Things eventually dubbed "traditions". Traditions are things that we hand down, from our parents to our children and their children. When we were kids we used to drive 45 minutes to McClellanville to the Saw-Dam Christmas Tree Farm, (which, of course, we thought was soooo risque because it almost had a curse word), to cut down our very own real live Christmas tree. We would get all bundled up, get old blankets, The Christmas music tape (yes, tape), and pile into the van, sometimes bringing our little Muffin girl with us. It was seriously the loooongessssst caaaaar rriiiiiiiide everrrrrrrr to get there and once we did, we still had to walk to where we'd pick out our saws before we could run (not with the saws, of course) through the rows upon rows of Christmas trees, measuring as only children can, the height, girth, fullness, and that special je ne sais quoi of our Christmas tree. And then, the three of us, Jessica, Noah and MaryGene, would skip around our tree singing "We want this one; yes we do! We want this one; how 'bout you!" It was less of a question to passersby, "Would you like this tree, or can we have it?", and more of a "THIS IS IT!" declaration to the world of Christmas tree buyers. Original, huh? Nevertheless, it became a tradition that we repeated every year. We hadn't really picked our tree if we hadn't sung the song. We would take turns sawing and then carry our tree to the front of the farm where they would put it on this jack-hammer-like machine that would shake all of the loose needles out of it, then send it through the netting loop and put it in the car. Those were the days. These are the days.
This weekend we're heading to Hendo for Graham and Joanna's wedding on Saturday! I can hardly believe it--it seems like a few days ago when we just moved here saying, "three and half months? Oh, that will fly by." And it has! We're praying for clear weather, not too cold, and beautiful fall leaves still on the trees. We're praying for peace, joy, and blessing upon blessing on their wedding day. It's amazing to me that whether or not God is invited into a wedding ceremony, he always shows--because marriage is something he designed and likened to himself. Whether you believe or not, there is a paradigm shift that every culture recognizes as spiritual. I really think that marriage is one of the "good things" that can happen to a person that will bring them closer to God, instead of having a crisis moment when they turn to God for a bail out. Sorry. Let me take off my Aristotle cap. So, annnnyway. We're excited about this weekend.
And now, I have to cook supper. See ya later, alligators.