It Was a Carb Coma Kind of Day

Our dining room set for Thanksgiving dinner
Image by rick020200 via Flickr

I’ve learned that the trick to a great Thanksgiving dinner — aside from awesome recipes ala Ree Drummond, is apparently drinking a cup of coffee at 6:00 pm the evening before. Laying in my bed, bugged eyed at 1 am, I decided to go downstairs and pour myself some warm milk. While in the kitchen, I thought to my non sleepy self, since I’m up I might as well set the dining room table, and the next thing I know I’m making the mashed potatoes at 3 am. Turns out I’m creative when I can’t sleep, one dish followed another and I did not go back to bed until I put our stuffed bird in the oven at 6:00 am. Then and only then did I stumble into bed for 3.75 hours of wonderful sleep.

Granted, I have friends who do this normally anyway. Stay up all night, the night before and cook — but I usually don’t. I like my sleep.

What about you? Are you an all nighter kind of turkey day cook or do you cook the day of?  I’d love to know.

Repost: The Neurotic Messiah

 My husband and I are getting ready to close on our new fishing cabin / personal retreat in Adair Oklahoma. For the next week or so, I’ll be busy packing, sorting, and cleaning things up. I am also getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In short, I won’t have much time to write. In the meantime, I thought you guys would enjoy some older posts.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Neurotic Messiah, copyright December 2000.

Oh no! What have I done? I cannot read a single note. Not one. This score is much more complicated Than I ever anticipated.

I haven’t sung in a choir for twenty year. And so began my chorus of fears.

The starts, the stops, the highs, the lows The beats, the counts, the arpeggios. The conductors who speak in some foreign tongue Is it Latin, or Italian? I know not which one.

The M’s and P’s, and F’s and M’s. Oh, these aren’t your typical church service hymns. Am I an “S” or not an “S” I do not know and now they say my costume I need to sew.

Light the fire but don’t take it out?! Would someone please tell me what that was about?

Now I’m told to sing like Ethel Merman and that we aren’t singing, but giving a sermon.

Oh how I’m beginning to rue the day when Sue Paulison said “Come on let’s play. You don’t need to audition, just show up and sing. Being a part of “The Messiah” is a wonderful thing.”

I’m now thinking my impulse to do this was rash. This may be a check I’ve written that my body can’t cash.

This is not good, not good at all, but then again, does pride not come before the fall?

I drove straight home and on my bed I sat telling my husband, I’m not going back! And that is that!

Then standing in the hallway whom did I see but my 9-year-old son list-ening to me. “I thought you once said don’t ever quit. So please tell me now, why are you doing it?”

I searched through my brain to frantically look for some wise answer to get me off the hook. Failing that I tried for the truth Hoping somehow he’d understand, even in his youth.

“That may be true.” I answer, “But don’t you see? There’s too much to learn and it’s too hard for me. Besides, I really can’t sing, not like the rest.” And he said “That’s okay Mom; just do your best. God won’t mind, just wait and see. Isn’t that what you’re always telling me?”

And so I sat with a guilty heart wondering when my son got so smart. And wondering why he now would choose to remember my words and those words use.

Then henceforth came my next blessing I caught a cold while I was dressing. I coughed and sneezed and wheezed and gasped. My voice, once loud, now barely rasped.

I cannot sing and cough no sir, they have to let me drop now, I’m sure. No guilt, no blame, It’s not my fault. This cruel dance can finally come to a halt.

But Leon’s good. He doesn’t miss a trick. You’d better get well and get well quick. I’ll let you sing you’ll do just fine, people catch colds all the time. And so went my last excuse. Fighting God on this one seemed no use.

My costume’s all sewn by my friend Cyndi, with care, At least now I will have something to wear.

I thought a “piano” is what you played and not what you sang and this cold still makes me sound like a cat in the rain. I’m not an “S” and this much I know that’s to keep us from hissing during the show.

The Marys and Josephs have been picked out with care now if only they could decide when they’ll be there.

The last practice has come we should know what to do. Stand up straight, bend your knees, and that includes you. The Altos still outnumber the rest by a score, next year could you please try soprano some more.

The orchestra is with us, it’s coming together. Somehow I doubt we could get any better.

Tell us Pastor Carter how does it sound now that we’ve done this last go around?

“It needs to be crisp, we’ve lost that somehow. Remember, you are praising God, so let’s pull it together now. Sopranos are too strong, bring it down just a bit. Bass’s your not emphasizing the lines that you hit. Tenors and Altos your entrances are late, but other than that I think it sounds great.”

Our differences we have quietly tucked away, as all Tulsa Lutheran churches sing in har-mony this day. Clear and true our music does ring as we all praise and worship our new-born King.

All fears and joking are now put aside. This is a worship service and our joy we can’t hide.

The true story of Christmas can only be told through the lives of the ones who dare to Behold.

“Behold! I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all
people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior which is
Christ the Lord.”

————————-

We will be celebrating our 90th year this December 4, 2010. Won’t you please join us at First Lutheran Church on 13th and Utica for this wonderful presentation of the Christmas Story.

This is our 90th year. Please join us!

Happy Thanksgiving

From my house to yours, I wish all of you a very happy Thanks Giving Day — even my Canadian friends. Blessings Deana

Thomas Merton on Gratitude.

Gratitude is more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. We cannot be satisfied to make a mental note of things which God has done for us and then perfunctorily thank Him for favors received.

To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us — and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is grace, for it brings with us immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder, and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference… Gratitude is therefore the heart of the Christian life.

REPOST: Redeem The Days of Silence

I am taking a short vacation from blogging to spend holiday time with my family. In the meantime, I have set up a few of my more popular posts for you to read. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Redeeming the hour

Of words unspoken

Gospels denied

Deeds undone and

Needs overlooked

Would take a life time of wishes.

If one was a simple soul that is.

Confessions made

To cold hearted clerics

Who hold the words of absolution

Our medicine

and

Our lifeblood

In the palm of their hands

And choose to say nothing

Rip the very fabric of our being;

And cause us to question the heart of God himself.

And yet a stronger soul

Emerges from the ashes of wasted words

And needless silence.

Like the phoenix

We rise

And are reborn.

Carrying with us

A heart for the unredeemed hours

Of our lives.

We see the hearts

Of the lost and the hurting.

We speak the truths

That were once denied us

To others whose needs are no more

Or no less than our own.

In place of the devils behind

Who left their teeth in our hide

We become the god with skin on

For those who need his touch.

We listen

We pray

We touch

We feel

And we tell you the only truth

You need to hear.

God sings over you

Your sins are forgiven

Rest in that knowledge

And forgive those whose own scars

Rendered them silent on your behalf.

You are more than a simple soul

Living on wishes and lies of others.

You are a phoenix

More valuable than silver or gold.

Bought at a price

Redeem the day.

REPOST: Epic Fail: On Romance and Marriage

Rumor has it, great romances involve planning. Every good relationship book will tell you that you have to plan for time together in order to keep romance in marriage alive and well. What every good relationship book does not tell you is there is a right way, and a wrong way for such planning.

Movies make it look easy. All a woman has to do is show up in his office for a surprise lunch wearing nothing but a fur coat, that sort of thing. The real world? If I did that, my coat would get stuck in the elevator and I’d wind up on his floor with just my shoes. Oh yeah, he’d be surprised alright. Along with the rest of his staff.

Still, I want adventure and I like doing fun things for my husband, but…

I tried to get creative once. It didn’t work.

I found his blackberry one night and decided to write on his calendar. I picked a random date out in the future and posted a lunch meeting for him to “go home and ravish wife.” AKA me.

Did you know that a Corporate issued Blackberry syncs up with corporate calendars?

Me neither.

And apparently, corporate secretaries have access to corporate calendars.

Husbands do not like getting phone calls from their secretary saying “Mr Robinson wants to schedule a lunch meeting with you for Tuesday, but it says here you are supposed to be ravishing your wife at that time. Should I reschedule that appointment or move Mr Robinson to a different date?”

Corporate secretaries are vastly underpaid.

It’s an Attitude of the Heart

‎”The overflow of our lives saturates those around
us, good or bad. Each day we spread either thankfulness, kindness, love, forgiveness, and grace, OR we soak others with our bitterness, discontent, complaining, impatience, and sour attitude. What overflows from your life? When you spill over, what saturates the lives of… those …around you?”~Hester Christensen

Closing on our Cabin

After month’s of searching,waiting, and negotiating, our new fishing/writing cabin will finally be ours this Monday. Providing of course that all goes well with the closing. Which is will. Between the closing, settling in, Thanksgiving, and various Christmas Programs, things on this end will be busy to say the least.

I will be taking a break from blogging and I’ve set my blog up to repost some of my older posts just in case some of you haven’t seen those.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you in a few weeks.

Love and Laughter,

Deana

ps. we are wondering though — if we’ll get to see UFO’s in our cabin, like they did in Stigler – which is an airforce base. I mean what are the odds that people living near an airforce base would see things flying in the sky, hunh? And yes, we moved here from Chicago, why?

Watching the Bears in Peace

I love my Bears.
I love my husband.
I love watching my Bears WITH my husband.
Our oldest is away at college.
 
Our youngest was at work.
We are alone.
On the couch.
Watching the pre-game show.
When the old quarterbacks start talking about Cutler and Thigpen.
I can’t make this up.
One former quarterback to another:
“Thigpen might be third string for Miami, but he’s got a great tight end.”
Seriously, would YOU let a comment like that pass you by?
It gets better.
Another announcer mispronounces the word “version” and says “Every team has a virgin like that.”
My husband has decided that the boys can never move away.

The Defenders on CBS: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

My youngest son has accused me of uhm, having a thing for male eye candy on TV and he’s getting annoyed. Seriously? The child who shushes us during certain commercials is calling ME out? Ha! I have no clue what he’s talking about.

I watch 24 with my family because it is action packed and my boys like it. Same with all of the other shows I like. Bones, Castle, and The Human Target are all good quality, action packed family shows. So what if the lead actors are a bit on the hunky side, that’s not why I watch them. I’m also a natural redhead, and men read Playboy for the articles, but I digress. I like Lie to Me and The Mentalist as well and no one can accuse those guys of being, “eye candy.”

Look at the alternative popular shows. Raising Hope just raises my blood pressure and tells me that Cloris Leachman’s retirement portfolio is worse than mine, and don’t even get me started on Cougar Town. I hate that show.2 1/2 Men is disgusting.  The Good Wife is depressing. We have enough hospital and policeman soap operas to last to eternity and there’s no real comedy in sitcoms anymore, (well that nerd show is cute, but I can never remember when it’s on) so what’s a girl to do?

Well, if you are like me and sick of garbage on TV, maybe you are plugged in to The Defenders on CBS.  If you aren’t plugged in, then you should be. It’s clean, it’s funny, it has some drama, and it’s got heart, without the candy. I love it. Is it realistic? No, not really. But the world is real enough. Frankly, I like being entertained for an hour.

Granted, maybe the no candy thing isn’t entirely true. Don’t tell my son, but I watch the show for one actor and one actor alone..

Yep..

It’s true.

I have a thing for Nick Morelli.

Shocking I know.

He’s a believable character. I mean yeah, it would be nice to have some mystery novelist, or FBI agent chasing after me, but they seem so high maintenance when you think about it. They are hunky to be sure, but they are so needy. Castle is insecure and Booth has commitment issues. And both guys fall for emotionally unavailable women who lead them around by their noses whether they realize it or not. I mean they look good and all, but do any of them really wear the pants in their relationships? no! And Jack Bower? Every women he falls for gets killed. No thank you.

But, Nick? Nick has heart. He cares deeply about people, about justice, and about life. His partner, played by Jerry O’Connell, is an annoying, self-absorbed playboy. (Jerry plays him very well I might add.) Pretty boys are boring. They are easy to size up, easy to manipulate and easy to toss away. They are, as my friend used to say a one trick pony. I’ll take a man with soul over a man with designer soles, any day.

Nick has heart, he has passion, and he has mystery.

My son can think what he wants. What makes something eye candy, really depends on the lens through which we view it. And what might be appealing to a 20 something female is not necessarily what is appealing to a 45 year old woman who has lived a bit of life – isn’t even close to the same thing.

Granted, I am just a blogger and today’s episode did trash bloggers, and according to some hollywood writer who apparently got their wittle feelers hurt, “bloggers are wanna be journalists who don’t have ethics and write mean nasty things about people.”

Maybe.

And yes, said writer can laugh all the way to the bank while I write for fun. (Translation: I write for free.) But I don’t say mean, nasty things about people. Okay – I said I hated Cougar Town, but can you blame me?

Still..

This unethical, non journalist likes the show. You should check it out.

And for some fun trivia, my favorite quote of the night was “We are standing on the shoulder’s of giants.” which is taken from (per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_on_the_shoulders_of_giants)

For the Oasis album, see Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
Dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin: nanos gigantium humeris insidentes) is a Western metaphor meaning “One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past”; a contemporary interpretation. However, the metaphor was first recorded in the twelfth century and attributed to Bernard of Chartres. It was famously uttered by seventeenth-century scientist Isaac Newton (see below). The picture is derived from the Greek mythology where the blind giant Orion carried his servant Cedalion on his shoulders.

“Standing on the shoulders of giants,” is not just some great pep talk. that phrase  is a reminder that we are but dwarfs standing on the shoulders of greater men and women than our selves so that we may have a better view.

Those of you who read my blog know that I perform stand up from time to time and that I study comedy. I don’t study so that I can borrow or steal — known as being a hack by insiders– but so that I can learn. I write and perform my own stuff. To do less than that would discredit those who went before me.  It would be a disservice to people I respect greatly, like Gilda Radner, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball. I have a lot of respect for comedy writers and comedy performers. It takes intelligence to write and perform clean comedy. There is a lot of intelligence in The Defenders.

No matter what our field, our ambition, or our goals, we are all standing on the shoulders of giants. Those great thinkers who went before us to lift us up to better heights. Never should we be so bold as to think the hill we stand on was made of our hands.

Compared to these guys, I’m a dwarf. A very grateful one and I’ll never forget that.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart: Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved. 11/17/10

Wordless Wednesdays: Handel’s Messiah

 

I didn’t grow up in the church. I never went to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, or Egg Hunts. I never even got to be in a Christmas Pageant. Ever. I cannot begin to explain what it felt like as a kid, to see the neighborhood churches bustling with activity and knowing I couldn’t be a part of it. Those things were for members only. I wasn’t a member.

Through a wonderful set of circumstances – meeting my husband and moving to Oklahoma – I did join my very first church in 1993, and I have never looked back.

Ten years ago, a friend of mine told me about the All Lutheran Messiah and invited me to participate. That was big deal, because all Lutherans do not see eye to eye, and technically we’re not even allowed to worship together, lest we give the impression we agree on doctrine. — I kind of think that is stupid, but that’s just me. I tend to be more ecumenical than my brothers and sisters in the LCMS realm. Christ is the only thing that matters to me. If we share that, what difference does the rest make?

Hence, I’ll never be an LCMS staff member. — Don’t get me wrong, I love my LCMS Church, I love my pastor, I love my husband, I even love my Synod. I just love God a little bit more. There are too many rules surrounding paid staff. They aren’t allowed to publicly worship, commune, or pray with non LCMS people lest they give the impression that they agree on doctrine. As a newcomer, I can’t help but interpret that to mean they are more afraid of what people think then they are God and I don’t understand that.

Let me re-phrase that. I spent most of my life being more afraid of what people thought than God, and today, I’m trying to repent of that and avoid those traps. So if I spot an issue like this, it’s only because I have an issue like this.

LCMS isn’t alone, we have many denominations under the Christian Church umbrella. I just don’t understand the separations. The body of Christ is the body of Christ. Jesus is ONE bridegroom, and he has ONE bride. I believe the titles on our doors do more to break the body than it does make it.

Up until last year’s ELCA Synodical convention, most local  LCMS congregations participated in this joint presentation. Because of changes that ELCA made, many of our LCMS churches chose to drop out. I won’t go into that here. LCMS staff members were even forced out of participating for fear of losing their jobs.  We as a group had to make some changes in order to keep this alive.

Structurally, the Messiah presentation is its own NPO and is not supported by any synod. There are no pastor’s leading any aspect of the service, there is just “the multitude,” meaning the singers. We don’t even publically pray together. But those changes are not enough for some people.

Some churches have chosen to do their own in-house services to replace this, and I refuse to support those.

Why?

Because I’m the kid who walked past churches like that and felt left out. You had to know somebody on the inside in order to go.

Christmas is a time we are called to look past ourselves, and give to others. In house presentations for members only, flies in the face of what Christ came to do. The Jews wanted an “in-house” Messiah and he shocked them by coming not only for them, but for the Gentiles as well. Jesus became that “somebody” to know.

Being a part of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the community is more important to me than some political debate. I still sing in The Messiah and this is our 90th year, making us the second longest running presentation in the United States.

In our liturgical calendar year ends this Sunday where we look to the second coming of Christ. The following Sunday, marks the beginning of Advent (The Christmas Season) where we as a body, look forward (in spirit) to the first coming of Christ. We celebrate his birth.

Right now, while we practice the choral runs and solos, time intersects my spirit. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and return consume me today and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart: Confessions of a Spiritual Bulimic. All rights reserved 11/17/10. My views and opinions are not necessarily reflective of my home congregation or Synod. These are just my thoughts.