Monday, December 21, 2009

Finding Christmas

Yesterday Mom, Molly, Mia, and I baked Christmas cookies. Six different varieties including cherry kringle. It was an incredibly busy day, especially after our all day shopping trip to the mall on Saturday. I am officially done Christmas shopping except for one gift left (for a certain tall guy coming home from college tomorrow), and a few little things.

Mom and I have worked together often enough that we have it down almost to a science. We never fight over oven time, because we stagger the batches, and it all just seems to work out. Except for cupboard space, of that we never have enough! Gingerbread cookies, cut-out cookies, cherry kringle, peppermint crunch cookies, peanut blossum, and chocolate covered Ritz crackers. Hopefully it will be enough to take us through the rest of the week!

The most memorable moment of the day was when Mom opened up her lower cupboard door to throw something in the scrap jar and encountered a mouse looking back up at her. Mom has a phobia of mice, so she started screaming at the top of the lungs while bouncing up and down before leaping onto the nearest chair. I recognized the scream and explained to the shell-shocked Molly, Tyler, and Krissy, "Mouse," at which point Mia disappeared into my mom's bedroom where she shut the door and stayed on the bed, and the rest of us tried not to wet ourselves laughing. Poor Mom!

Jeff came in from the garage and placed a mousetrap under the sink (where later that night it caught the wily intruder), but for the rest of the afternoon, every time Mom approached the door, she started singing "La la la la" at the top of her lungs and bumped the door to warn anything inside of her approach. Life at Mom's never fails to be interesting!

Finding Christmas by Jacob Calvin Schaap is a collection of short stories that display the real meaning of Christmas in surprising ways. Schaap finds the Christmas spirit in unusual places: a talkative cowgirl bus driver, a teenage daughter's unexpected pregnancy, and a church pageant so hardcore it has manure! The stories are filled with humor and real human emotion: expectation, fear, frustration, and sadness. Readers will find themselves laughing and crying as the characters find Jesus in places surprising and heart-breaking. It's a quick read to help get your heart in the right place this holiday season.

I'm giving away a copy of this book, plus three more Christmas titles: The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh, The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere, and Christmas Miracles by Cecil Murphey & Marley Gibson this week. $60 worth of books for figuring out the mystery behind today's picture. The collection you see is five items made by my family during their years in school. Each member of my family made one of them: Mia, Doogie, Molly, Jesse, and I. Consider them numbered 1-5 from left to right and put your best guess as to who made each one in an email to me before 10 pm on Thursday, Dec. 24th Christmas Eve. The winner will be chosen randomly from any entries who get all five figures correctly matched to which of my family made them. If no one gets all five, then I'll randomly choose from the next most correct. I'll announce the winner here on Friday, Christmas Day. Good luck!