Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Moment of Silence for a Dearly Beloved

I quit smoking cigarettes about 2 years ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed smoking and quit only because my friends and family became so irritating about the habit that something had to give.  I briefly contemplated running away, but considering the condition of my lungs, I wouldn't have made it very far. 
A friend of mine had been fighting the same battle and was introduced to vapor pens by her son.  She hadn't had a cigarette for many months.  When she wouldn't ride with me in my car because of the cigarette stink, I figured it was time to try some vape.
My husband got a Z Max (I think that's what it was called) for my mom and me for Christmas.  After about 3 months of smoking and vaping, I was able to completely put those ol' stinky cancer sticks down!
The first vape pen crapped out about 6 months in.  I felt like I was always battling with it-filling it up, changing the atomizers, checking the battery, inadvertently pressing a button and changing some setting, etc.  When I went to get another one, I wanted something easy and small and girly.  I found  easy, but small and girly was impossible. 
The one that met my easy requirement was a Tesla something or other.   It was huge.  And silver. And non-girly.  It was in my price range so I brought it home.   
It worked perfectly and felt good to hold.  You know how it feels when you hold a mag light or a well balanced tool? That's how it was.  A well balanced tool. 
The family dubbed him Optimus Prime.  He was a good friend.  He was never demanding.  He never complained.  He never criticized or offered a contradictory opinion. He was reliable.  I took him everywhere with me-the movies, the beach, Great Britain, New Mexico, California.  He was well traveled.  He had been my constant companion for more than a year. 
Sadly, Optimus bit the dust yesterday.  I pressed his button and there was nothing but cold and silence.  I changed his battery and atomizer and added fresh e-juice, but nothing revived him.  It was a heart-stopping, panic ridden moment.  The sizzle was gone.  I regained control of myself and was able to find a cheap fill-in, but nothing can replace my precious, Optimus Prime.
Please join me in a moment of silence.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  You were loved. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Our Feral Tree

Years ago we visited an historic building in the area during Christmas.  It is a beautiful stone building (pretty much a ruin now) that German immigrants dug out of the earth to create a home.  In one of the rooms there was a shaggy cedar tree just sparkling with mercury glass ornaments.  I fell in love! I have wanted a cedar Christmas tree ever since.  Usually we go to a tree farm and walk aimlessly through the rows of neatly trimmed furs and pines.  I always ask if they have any cedars.  They usually look at me like I have a cat on my head and say no.  Apparently, there are not many people out there in love with shaggy cedar trees. 
Recently, my son was tasked with clearing a fence row.    Lo and behold, the fence row contained (among the jumping cactus) cedar trees!! 
Dare to dream people-dreams really do come true sometimes.
The boys were not thrilled about cutting this out of the fence-their cries of "Mom, it's been raining for a week, we don't want to lay in puddles" and "Mom, those jumping cactus needles hurt" and "Mom, I just saw a poisonous snake slither out of there", were answered with "Suck it up buttercup, I'm not raising ninnies".  We don't mollycoddle around here. 
First they did a little clearing with the machete.  Jumping cactus is no joke.

Then they discussed who should lay in the mud first.
 Finally, the little one gets to sawing.  I didn't get a pic of  #1 son pulling it out of the fence because, hey, he's the middle kid.  I forget to document his life sometimes....

 And here we are.  The majestic, crooked, shaggy wonder.  The most magnificent tree to ever grace our hall:

We all have our quirks.  So what it's crooked :)
It's straight enough from this angle.
 An actual antique ornament from my gramma's tree.
 This one isn't nearly as beautiful as the "inspiration" tree, but I'm happy with it.  Now that I know where to get a cedar, next year's will be even better.


In the middle of all your Christmas busyness and craziness, and in the wonder and awe and beauty of this season, don't forget: Jesus is the reason for all of this.  A merciful, wonderful, glorious God.  A God of love, hope, forgiveness and redemption.  We are all as imperfect as my feral tree, but we are loved nonetheless.  Thank you, Jesus.