Terror in the Skies!!!!

Here at the Long home, you don’t have to leave the ground to experience the fright of flight.  Ask our grand-dog, Minnie.  She’s terrorized by it.  Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself.  Let me back up the train…..or helicopter in this case.

After Thanksgiving, I opened one of my favorite money-saving emails from the Krazy Coupon Lady.  The Deal of the Day promised I could get remote controlled helicopters at an amazing savings.  I immediately knew I could clinch the title of “Mom and Mother-in-Law of the Year” in one fatal blow.  I placed 2 in my cart and could not wait for them to arrive.

Christmas Eve we timed it so Cole (19) and Karsten (25) would open them at the same time.  Both were hanging off the ceiling when they saw what they were.  Karsten told a story that since he had  drawn Cole’s name, he considered buying him one, but Rain-on-the-Parade Robin shot down that plan with “oh I don’t really think Cole would be into something like that.”  Karsten was shocked, but tabled the gift.  Thank goodness for Robin’s craftiness, as she was in my back pocket.

As soon as we could rustle up 12 AA batteries out of various remotes and cameras, Maverick and Goose were in the air.  Cole’s style was to go for all-it was worth the crash either in the ceiling or dive bomb the floor.  Karsten with his percussionist fine motor skills was more refined and could have probably landed it on a dime.  Before long Miss Minnie was a target and they chased her through the house.  Poor puppy!  Cole used Cliff’s head as a take off heli-pad on several occasions.  I now regret not snapping a picture, but no batteries.

Christmas night Seth (20) came over to play games.  His eyes lit up with the air show that was taking place around him.  Immediately the Christmas money he had received started burning a hole in his pocket.  (I’m telling you, I am amazed he didn’t start our house on fire. )  By the next morning, Facebook announced that Seth had gone online, and one was in transit to his dorm, even as I read his post.  I’m pondering if I should I send a warning to Friends University??

Cliff waited patiently until Karsten and Robin had left to go back home to Emporia.  Cole and his sweetie had journeyed off for their Christmas ‘date’ to Pratt.  Things were quieting down, so I picked up a pile of Christmas letters and newspaper articles to relax with.  Suddenly my hair started moving and cool air started blowing in my face.  I look up to be face to face with the Syma S107 Mini Helicopter with Gyroscope.  It’s alternating red and blue lights stared me in the face as it hovered menacingly.   If there had been mini machine guns , I would have been a goner.  The creep factor was high.   Later I had a flashlight out and trying to look down Casey’s throat to see if any green critters  had decided to reside on her tonsils.  Not to be outdone, here came the Eagle Med copter to help just in case the tonsilitis had gotten out of control.   After a time at the recharge station, Misty was intently loading pictures on the laptop, when the crafty copter edged around the Christmas tree.   It zoomed into her air space and we experienced ‘Black Hawk Down’ in no uncertain terms.  Or maybe more like a scene from a scene from King Kong.

Needless to say, but going to say it anyway, after I get off of here, my next job is to order one more for the biggest and oldest kid in the house and newly ordained ‘flyboy’.  Captain Cliff of the Air Patrol  you definilty keep our lives exciting!

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The Disappearing Jesus

When we were growing up, we had a plastic nativity scene with a sturdy wooden stable that Grandpa Moore had made.  My brother and I spent hours and hours beneath the Christmas tree, re-enacting our own version of the Christmas Story.  To assist the angel on the roof guard from any intruders, Fort Apache Indians had their bows aimed and ready.  While the Magi brought great gifts, Barbie was a little more practical.  She made sure the stable was comfortable with kleenex blankets and fake Barbieland food.   (Hmmm… I wonder if why they didn’t stick around very long was she intimidated them since she was twice their height?)

Years passed and our family dynamics changed.  I ended up with the Nativity Scene in the divorce.  All that was left was Mary, a shepherd, a sheep, Joe, Jesus in the manger and the stable.   My kids loved them as well.   Who was I to not let them have their hands-on experience?   As time went by, the staple came out of Jesus’s back, so he was now free from the manger.   We considered hot gluing him in the there.  The opinion was that seemed kind of sacreligious, so we chose to take the risk.

Big Mistake!  That fateful Christmas season, our one and one half inch Baby Jesus came up missing.  Our family kind of started to panic.  We searched and searched as this could not be pleasing to God.  This had to be an infraction that would top the Ten Commandments.  Days went by.  Regardless of our attempts, he was just gone. 

For some bizarre reason Christmas Eve one of the kids was messing behind the our 30 gallon fish aquarium.  Guess who was hiding back there!  Celebration rang out in the Long home.  Truly Christ had come and we were amazed.  Probably more by ‘how did he get behind the aquarium?’ than anything, but we could not deny the timing.

The next year-same story, second verse, but this time he was in a houseplant.  He made his grand entrance on Christmas Eve evening once again.  Year after year we would put him in the manger, but we could not keep him in there!  Everyone swore they were not up to any shenanigans.  As unorganized as our family is, we couldn’t even keep track of most of the kids’s pairs of shoes, how could we orchestrate this?   After several years of this, it got to the point it kind of became old news.  “Jesus is missing.”  “Oh, don’t worry.  He’ll show up Christmas Eve.”  And he would, always amazing us with his unique entry.

One year he did his disappearing act and we went on with life, not making much mind of it….until He didn’t show up by the usual time on Christmas Eve.  Concern started in.  No Jesus before supper.  No Jesus after Christmas Eve service.  No Jesus as we unwrapped our gifts.  While it wasn’t putting a knife through the heart of our Christmas, it was niggling in each of our minds. 

After the packages were opened and flurry of wrapping paper had magically turned to unwanted trash, Casey discovered a very small package clear back under the tree.  On it said “To Everyone”.  When we opened it, there he was.  All one and one half inches of him, smiling and reaching up to us.  Later, because she couldn’t keep a secret,  Casey confessed that she was the culprit, but that didn’t change the message of the night. 

Since then, all we have is him and the manger.   They sit in a place of honor in our living room.  He hasn’t come up missing in about 10 years.  He’s a reminder that may we never forget that just like a stable in Bethlehem, its truly impossible to keep Jesus in that manger.  He’s always reaching out to everyone in his most  unique way.

The Unexpected!

Yesterday, my husband, Cliff called me at work.

“Do you want to go to Gerald’s retirement party tonight?”

Always up for an adventure, I said “Sure!….who’s Gerald?”

Cliff went on to explain that he is a guy in the oil field who Cliff works with on occasion and this was his farewell party after 26 years of faithful service..  I probably wouldn’t know anyone there, but then again my family is convinced that I had visited with everyone in the Portland airport.  (Let the record show, it was just all the people at our gate.)

We drive the 25 miles to Hardtner, KS.  We wove through some snazzy cars to get to the front door.  (I am sure there are still drool marks across the hoods from Cliff and his cousin checking them out.)  Inside was a great buffet and I got to reaquaint with some old friends and met a few new ones.   It was a great low key night.

What was interesting was Gerald.  Cliff had explained to me that Gerald is a steady guy, who does his job faithfully and never gets too wound when the wheels fall off.  He just trusts it will be ok and does what he is asked to do.  Tonight he sat quitely in a chair with a kind of dazed look on his face.  Since I didn’t know the man, I played with the idea that maybe that was just him.  As the evening wore on, Gerald and I were thrown together.  A huge smile played at his mouth as he said “Did you see my retirement gift?”  Suddenly, his eyes danced as they broke through his glazed look.  Come to find out the brand new, shiny, bright red Camero outside was his!  He calmly went on to say that he had had to sacrifice his ’67’ back many years ago to pay the bills and feed his family.   His boss had surprised him with this treasure-the long awaited desire of his heart and he was still in shock. .  All evening he wandered around with that dazed look and had bruises up and down his arms from pinching himself.

I asked if he had driven it yet.  Yes, up the highway a few miles and around Hardtner which could have taken all of 5 minutes if he drove really slow. I don’t think he trusted himself just let loose in it!

It got my imagination going.  I wonder if that is what it will be like when the Lord turns to His faithful and says “well done good and faithful servant,”  Whatever comes as a reward will pale in the awesomeness of His appreciation.  How dazed will we be?  How long will it take for it to sink in He trusted us enough to do His work even though He was the one who equipped us and led us the entire time?  Hmmmmm…. How does thinking about the possibility affect my actions today.

Just something to think about…..