Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Dichotomy of Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I pray special blessings on each and every one of you at the start of the holiday season. Isn't it amazing how we have so many holidays crammed up so close together? I know Halloween already happened, but for some reason, I never really include it in the truly festive holidays that I love so much. Oh, I love Halloween, but Thanksgiving and Christmas both have so much more of a spiritual and faith-enriched theme to them than merely getting a sugar rush from all that Halloween candy.

And because Thanksgiving is such a faith-based holiday, especially if you look at its rich history and the thankful hearts of the pilgrims, I'm always confused and confounded by Black Friday. You spend all of Thanksgiving helping prepare the meal, sitting down with family, saying a (hopefully) heartfelt prayer of thanks to the Lord for His goodness before tucking into the meal. Maybe you even watch a movie as a family or the football game, but Thanksgiving is pretty much family and gratitude oriented.

Follow that with Black Friday, where crowds mull impatiently at store doors at 4am, pushing, shoving, grabbing, cursing, and a vast over-spending of money that Americans don't actually have. Wait what? How do these two dissimilar events occur in the span of two days? I just don't get it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Woohoo, Snow Day off from Work!!

I think Compassion has changed its snow day policy because, for the first time since my mom has worked there (which is nearly 5 years), they called a snow day! Woot, woot! Get a load of that gorgeous snow! And thank goodness for the new snowblower my parents bought last year on sale! That cut the shoveling time by at least half, if not more!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Christmas Fiction Extravaganza!

Christmas Fiction Extravaganza!

I'm hosting this over on my other blog, Bookshelves & Daydreams!
I'll start publishing Christmas book reviews the day after Thanksgiving! You can join in the fun and blog your own book reviews, or you can simply read my thoughts on the many Christmas books that I'm already reading and planning to read. Either way works for me.
But if you could share my button on your blogs in a post and then in your sidebars, that would be absolutely terrific! I'll hop around to different blogs on the weekend and officially invite folks, this is just to get the ball rolling as it were.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Experiencing an Authentic Scandinavian Meal

Even though my family hails from Swedish/Finnish roots, the Sons of Norway opens its doors to anyone with Scandinavian heritage, little caring if you're actually Norwegian or not.

Two years ago my family, meaning myself, Caitlin, Mom, and Dad, attended the Lutefisk dinner that they host yearly in November. My grandfather (Mom's dad) always cooked lutefisk for Christmas, but he passed away before Caitlin and I ever met him so we'd never experienced anything like an authentic Scandinavian meal apart from a few Swedish meatballs. It was a lively and glorious experience, all except for the lutefisk itself.

What is lutefisk exactly?

Lutefisk is dried whitefish (normally cod, but ling is also used) treated with lye. It is then either baked (how my grandfather apparently prepared it) or boiled (how the cooks at Sons of Norway prepare it).

Let me just say that lutefisk with lye is pretty gross. It is gelatinous, wobbling on its platter as its brought to the table, and just all around nasty.  Then again I'm what . . . 4th generation Swedish American? I didn't grow up eating it so naturally it seems weird.

Your next question is probably, why would you ever want to go back?

I love tradition. I love being around people of a similar heritage and customs to my own, who know what I'm talking about when I mention a Dala Horse or a Tomte and can appreciate the deliciousness of adding cardamom to bread.

So while my father is salmon fishing in Oregon (because the last lutefisk dinner was waaaaaaaay more than enough for him), we (Mom, Caitlin, and I) reserved space at this year's Lutefisk Dinner for this afternoon.

It was heavenly!

Friday, November 13, 2015

For France

Nothing I say can make the fear and the pain go away. But you are not alone. The world grieves with you and empathizes with you. America has stood where you are standing, watching our Twin Towers crumble at the hands of terrorists. Know that my prayers and the prayers of millions of people around the world go out to you right now. Evil will not triumph. It never has in the past which is why it keeps trying to win. May this tragedy be overcome, may the evildoers be vanquished, and may peace and comfort reign in your hearts and in your nation once more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

First Snowfall of the Season

I'm not talking the first snow of the year, but the first snow of the season, after you've gone through the heat of summer and then watched the leaves falling, and then finally, even before you expect it (like this crisp morning in Colorado) you wake up to little crystals coating every surface of your yard and house.

My very first thought immediately flies to Christmas. So many good memories are tied up in Christmas for me, traditions, family and friends, books and movies, Christmas concerts, gifts under the tree, an elderly cat happily drugged out on catnip with her paws wrapped around her Christmas stocking. The very first snow of the season reminds me that winter is almost here, and with it, Christmas. Even though the sun bursts through the clouds by 10 am, melting all of the snow by noon, it was still there, and it still turned my thoughts to December.

Snow also reminds me of other things. Like when I lived on the coast of Oregon as a child and only experienced snow twice. Caitlin and I made the tiniest snowman ever on both of those occasions and then watched him shrink each day until he looked rather like an emaciated albino penguin. Or how about the move to Colorado when I was 14-years-old, to a house in definite snow country, and that winter falling in love, absolute love, with snow and sleds and full-sized snowmen.

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