Friday, December 8, 2017

So This Happened

Actual flakes!
San Antonio is known for it's generally balmy winter weather.  We don't tend to have temperatures below freezing. Most of us don't even bother to have a "winter" wardrobe, because winter here means that you might need a light jacket.  Sometimes we have hard freezes, with sleet and yucky driving, but those are not the norm.

The last significant snowfall was in January of 1985, when we were visited by an entire FOOT of the white fluffy stuff.  It was lovely, and the world grew quiet.  Except we were snowed in for THREE days, because there wasn't a snowplow within 400 miles.  Everyone went a bit stir crazy that week.  A foot of snow in the North wouldn't have been a big deal, but in San Antonio?  Whoa.

We all heard the whispers, the rumors. The local weathermen tried using words like "probable, but not likely".  Their caution did nothing to stop the excitement. Even the teenagers were hopeful, but the kids?  The kids were beside themselves, reciting every prayer that they knew, their bodies quivering in anticipation.

Because maybe...Snow!

It had been raining all day, a chilly kind of damp that seeped into my bones.  We were all at home as the night descended, when my mom texted me to say that her friend on the other side of town had snow. I was suspicious, but then my friends began excitedly texting about the same thing. New Braunfels has snow!  I was still skeptical, but then Maisy demanded to go outside.  I looked out the back door to see rain, and...something else.  At first I thought that it was sleet, but the flakes were too fluffy, and they drifted lazily toward the ground.  

My response after seeing this was disbelief.  It couldn't be!  I texted my mom to ask if this was snow, because it had been so long.  Larry, Zane, and I headed outside, and ALL of our neighbors were outside staring at the sky. SNOW!!  Laughter echoed in the cold air. All of our daily concerns were put on hold.  Everyone we could see snapped pictures, built snow people, made snow angels, had snow ball fights, and just got caught up in the moment.

The amazing thing about snow is that for a few delightful moments, it covers up slight imperfections in the world, and you start to feel as though you are in a painting.  The ugliest places become brighter.  Trees become ethereal.  Everything gets quieter.  It's blissful.   My normally grumpy husband practically glowed with excitement as he began rolling up as much snow as possible into a ball so that he could make a snowman.  It made me happy to see him happy.  Zane was all about the fun, until his hands got cold.  He was in and out, playing.   I spent my time going from the back door to the front, content to snap pictures and watch the world become magical.

Such wonder is always fleeting.  As soon as the sun rose, the snow was gone. It was as if it had never been.

The memories remain to remind us of wonder.

Monday, December 4, 2017

So I Stepped Out of My Comfort Zone

Let me start out by saying that I am still cancer free, so yay!  I have started getting used to the idea.  I am finally starting to relax again.  I can have a medical symptom, like weight loss, without completely freaking out and thinking that my cancer has come back.  I no longer have my oncologist on speed dial.  This is good, right?  Good as new, right?  For the most part.  I have a raging case of social anxiety.  I try very hard to hide it, but I get very uncomfortable when I am out and about with people I don't know.  I seem to do okay with people that I know, like family and friends, but with complete strangers I seem to freeze up, at least mentally. 

Keep it seasonal bags
Photo courtesy of Thirty One Gifts
This will not do.  So I decided to do something about it.  The best way to deal with this kind of fear is to put yourself in situations where you have to deal with whatever it is you are afraid of.  I decided to become a Thirty-One Gifts consultant.  Thirty-One sells some adorable, useful items, like tote bags, lunch bags, wallets, etc.  Their stuff is very durable; I still have several items that I purchased more than ten years ago that are still in use.  They have cute items that are ideal for Christmas, and most everything can be personalized with your initials or whatever you want.

Since I joined, I have made myself approach total strangers to discuss these wonderfully useful items. Not everyone has appreciated my efforts, but most have been happy to listen.  One of my friends hosted a party, and I stood up in front of the guests and only forgot what I was saying a couple of times.  After a little bit, I am happy to say that I actually started to have a good time. 

So, check out my Thirty-One website, and see if there is anything you might want to buy someone for Christmas. Shop to your heart's content. There are several specials, and some online exclusives. The cut off for delivery before Christmas is December 10, and there's no law that says that you can't buy a present for yourself.

Collection of Thirty-One products

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Where Does This End?

Stressed?  Look at the kitten. LOOK AT HER!!!!
Among all the wonderful, magnificent aspects of Texas that are admirable, our sense of community is tops.  We are generally friendly and like a good party.  We love our sports, our barbecues, and our communities. A community becomes a tribe.  A clan.  A family.

And a great many of us, Texan or not, count our churches as part of that community.  In small towns, especially, a church becomes the heart of a community.  People come together in prayer, in fellowship, in sickness and in health. Young adults fall in love at church picnics, become a family, and they show up on Sundays with their children in tow.  Small towns have many faults, but their sense of community is not one of them. Which is why the news today, of a white man shooting up a small town church 30 miles southeast of me is so shocking.  The fact that the shooter apparently came from New Braunfels, a place I worked for twenty years, hits me in the gut.

A church is supposed to be a place of safety, of sanctuary.  Historically, people in Europe sought refuge in cathedrals, requesting sanctuary from persecution.  It was considered a grave sin to violate sanctuary, once given.  These days, we don't have the same concerns, but a church is still viewed as a place of refuge.  Safety.  Those who need help, who have nowhere else to go, find themselves at the doors of churches, seeking comfort.  And they usually get it.  Now that sense of peace, that sense of safety, is gone. All those people, raised in their faith to believe that their Lord would protect them from all evil, are feeling very afraid right now. If you can't find sanctuary in your church, your sense of community suffers. The heart is gone, replaced by what?

Where does this all end?  When do the NRA fanatics put aside their frenzied fight over their bastardization of the Second Amendment?  When do the "Liberal snowflakes" stop looking down on those who don't share their opinions?  Why are we even fighting about common sense gun control?  Why is this so difficult?  We are better than this.  We should all be able to be adults, come to the table and figure out what to do.

I wish that I could say that Texas was at the forefront of gun control legislation.  I wish that I could say the Lone Star state was committed to the safety of its citizens, and willing to listen to ideas and possible solutions.  I may not have any answers, but surely someone does.   But tomorrow, after all the empty platitudes about prayers being offered up for Sutherland Springs?  It will be business as usual, with the finger pointing and the blame being flung about. Nothing will happen to stop this from happening again, and again, and again.

Where does this all end?