Well, we did it again. Two otherwise respectable middle-aged women donned gay apparel and made their annual pilgrimage to see Santa. His eyes, how they twinkled, when he recognized us then said, “Hey, I read your blog!”
Other bloggers may have the numbers, but I count the old boy himself among my readers.
After having our picture taken–retro style this year, thanks to liquid eyeliner and lots and lots of Aqua Net–Ethel and I exchanged our gifts. This is what she gave me:
The little house ornament cycles through a series of colored lights, reminiscent of the ones people used to pair with rotating aluminum Christmas trees. It was a fitting gift, I thought, for a gray-haired woman sporting a beehive in a retro-themed Santa photo shoot.
Ethel also gave me the tray which she had bought in a second-hand store one day, not knowing what she was going to do with it. But after a day of floating together in the pool this summer, when I told her I wanted to change my word for this year from drink to dwell, she knew just what she wanted to do.
I had talked of feeling restless, of wanting to move on to the next thing in life—whatever that might be. But God has yet to send me a pillar of fire telling me to move on from here. I said I sensed God telling me to stay put, recognizing I am always abiding in his presence. I may not be wild about the place he has me right now, but I’m trusting God continues to have lessons for me to grab hold of in this time and place.
Because she is my friend, and because she listens and pays attention, and because she is an artist, Ethel created a Wordle using the word dwell. Actually she created the Wordle online, and then recreated it in paint on her second-hand treasure. And, evidently, the font she copied is called Loved By the King, which is pretty cool.
This year I wanted to give Ethel something which acknowledged her gifts as an artist. She has been one of my most enthusiastic cheerleaders, often giving me writer-ly kinds of presents to inspire me to fan into flame whatever measure of gift I’ve been given. But, for me, trying to figure out what I’m looking at in the aisle of an art supply store is nearly as confusing as looking at electronic gizmos at Radio Shack. I’m sure all the stuff there is really useful, and some people actually know what to do with it, but I’m clearly not one of those people.
However, when I was at the writing retreat at Laity Lodge in September, I saw this in the bookstore there:
I picked it up and looked at it and just knew Ethel needed to own it. By the end of the retreat when I went back to buy it, however, it was gone. Somehow I think Lauren Winner was responsible for this, having passed out crayons, colored pencils, and markers to the writers in her workshop.
But thanks to my mad techno-wizardry skills and the convenience of online shopping, I was able to order a copy for Ethel. And I bought one for myself as well. I thought perhaps I could take some baby steps toward exercising the lesser-used hemisphere of my brain. So far all I’ve done is write words using colored pencils but, for me, that’s huge.
This, however, is what Ethel did with the gift I gave her:
We may just be a couple of ridiculous middle-aged ladies, and more than a few of the faithful may raise their eyebrows over our annual Santa ritual, but I really don’t care. Her friendship, her ability to know me at a deep level and love me anyway, preaches its own kind of sermon about the beauty of the incarnation.
Oh, and I also gave Ethel this, an ornament I found in a Christmas shop in Maine. If she and I were crustaceans, we would totally look like this while Christmas caroling:
Joining Laura @ The Wellspring, Jen and the Sisterhood, and Cheryl @ Oikos Living: