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Dear Diary – As if the world isn’t messy enough, now we could be at risk from rogue, mutant spiders from outer space. NASA just commenced Operation Dragonfly, taking 2 spiders to space to see how they react to zero gravity conditions. Things became messy, figuratively and literally, when the “back up spider” escaped into the sealed chamber. Let that really sink in…

Apparently, this is not the first time arachnids have travelled in space. Frankly, it all just sounds like the makings of a horror story, and with days to go before we start 2021, it just gives me the hee-bee jeebies! Anyone else?

Dear Diary – On Christmas Eve Day, I set out to bake a lemon blueberry cake with a lemon glaze, a lemon meringue pie, and a pumpin pie. To save myself some grief, I bought the pie shells and a can of pumpkin pie filling. But I had been so efficient (Nana J would be proud), I put away my pie filling, somewhere I would find it. Until I couldn’t.

While Big Guy went searching for my can of pumpkin, in every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen and basement, I started the lemon cake. Did you know that butter explodes in the microwave?

It took Big Guy half an hour to find the pumpkin filling. I read the directions and my heart sank. It needed evaporated milk. I had evaporated milk…which I used to make inedible fudge. Big Guy texted all his friends in the neighbourhood, but none of them had any either.

Pie will be the death of me.

I made a substitution and crossed my fingers. It worked. So did the lemon curd and meringue.

The lemon-blueberry cake was to celebrate Hubby’s birthday that evening. In the spirit of not spreading covid, or any other airborne disease for that matter, we decided to use a sparkler that I had found in the food processor box. (Seems like a reasonable place to store sparklers?)

It seemed like such a clever idea…until the smoke threatened to set off the smoke detector.

Before bed, Little Guy decided to play with the corn pops box. I store cereal in plastic storage containers and for some reason, the corn pops were stuck together in a solid lump inside. Little Guy was shaking the box, upside down (do you see where this is going?) when the flap popped open as the lump broke apart. It was a family game of “pick up the pops”.

Dear Diary – I never thought I hear myself saying these words: “Don’t spit in your brother’s hot chocolate”. My sons are 16 years apart – you’d think they’d know better!

Dear Diary – We only had a couple nights with Big Guy before he headed home, thanks to the provincial lockdown. We watched a lot of great Christmas movies: Die Hard, Mad Max, Lego Movie 2 and Monty Python.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more! Dr. Seuss, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

While it really sucked, to say good-bye to Big Guy so soon, it was better than the alternative: Not having him come at all. When it looked like that was going to be the case, I had a complete breakdown. I’m not proud of it but Mama’s hearts are fragile things. I felt guilty for not being content with the many blessings we have compared to so many in our hurting world. I knew of other Mamas whose hearts were broken too. I had to choose to hold on to what joy there was, rather than lament what was not.

Christmas is as much about lament as joy.  No one could have imagined, as we gathered around the Christmas tree last year, that everything would look so different. I imagined the Israelite nation once felt the same way. That first Christmas, they were still under the thumb of Caesar. They were waiting and longing for Messiah to bring a new way, a greater kingdom, a beautiful hope. Meanwhile, an innkeeper was collecting his fees. Shepherds were watching their sheep in the fields. Magi were studying their books. And everything changed. God visited His creation as a divine and human baby, bringing light, and hope, and joy, to a weary world.

Our Christmas Day came and went. It was different. It was sad in many ways. But in truth, no one or no thing could ever steal the Hope and Joy that Jesus brought that first Christmas. Our celebration was always meant to go beyond gifts and glitter, or even the hugs and harmony in family gathering. It is deeply fixed in our heart and soul, and sustains us all year long. Even as the years pass, and the world changes.

Lord willing, it will be better next year. Even if it is not, don’t let go of Hope. See you next year!

Remember, I’m pulling for you. We’re all in this together! Red Green (aka Steve Smith)