Friday, December 23, 2011


Usually, I buck tradition.  However, when it comes to Christmas there is a tradition I have been a part of my entire life. 

From my earliest years I remember one gift that has always been present under the tree: a box of chocolate covered cherries.  This gift was always given to my grandpa Longcor.  It was one of those things you could count on every year.  Grandpa would receive the hollowed box of cherries.  The tradition included him opening up the box and passing them around for everyone to share.  It was just a given that Grandpa Longcor loved Chocolate Covered Cherries and Christmas wasn't Christmas without a box under the tree!  I can remember for weeks after Christmas going to Grandpa's and within a matter of minutes he would pull out his stash of cherries to share. 

A few years before he died he was spending a week with Ruthann and I.  I was at work and he and Ruthann were doing gardening.  They took a break to have a cup of coffee and Ruthann pulled out our stash of Chocolate Covered Cherries to share with Grandpa.  As they sat on the couch enjoying their coffee Grandpa leaned into Ruthann and with a faint whisper said: "I have something to tell you: I don't like chocolate covered cherries!"  He then threw back his head and laughed like there was no tomorrow.  The secret was out.  It all made sense to me why he would always open the box and share.  It also made sense why he always had cherries well after Christmas.  The following Christmas he received a plethora of chocolate covered cherries!  It has been 21 years since grandpa died but every year a box of cherries would magically appear under our tree. 

This has been a tradition for 50 plus years and this year I was wondering if Christmas would come and go without the cherries.  Unlike the States, Australia hasn't caught on to this tradition and does not have chocolate covered cherries...chocolate covered licorice yes, cherries, NO!  When Natalie's luggage came she called me to her room as she unpacked her suitcase and what did she uncover?  A box of Chocolate Covered Cherries sent to me by my sister in law Jan!  WOW, the tradition continues.  Thanks Jan!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's Christmas Time!

I was asked the other day what the word Christmas means.  My answer: "it means Christ Mass or the Mass of Christ."  I then did a little research and learned it is associated with the celebration of the Lord's Supper.  I am struck at how we celebrate the birth of Christ with a word that goes right to the heart of the mission of give his life as a ransom for us.  He came to bring fulfillment to life and connection back to the Father!  May you be blessed this Christmas with the realization that Jesus loves you.  I don't know about you, but that gives me hope and a reason to celebrate!!!

By the way, this Christmas there are a lot of firsts for me: 1. long daylight hours, 2. Caroling in sandals and shorts, & 3. 80 F weather.  (Sorry, just had to mention that!)

Merry Christmas,


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Done, but NOT Finished!!!

I'm DONE, done with my Master's from Fuller Theological Seminary.  In January 2008 I started the adventure and today, submitted my final two papers for my last two classes.  I have to admit, when I finished the last paper and sent it to my editor, tears welled up in my eyes.  This has been a long haul but I have learned and gained so much from this experience.  The knowledge was a given, the life-long friends were unexpected.  I have great friends now all over the world who have walked with me through a significant part of this journey.  I also have come to realized how blessed I am.  My family, Ruthann and Natalie have put up with almost four years of me being consumed at times with homework, papers, reading, and the anxiety of waiting for grades to be posted.  Ruthann has put in countless hours as my chief editor and put up with a lot of run on sentences, poor grammar, and looming deadlines.  Who would have guessed that 34 years ago in college when I was flunking out of Freshman English, that pretty little tutor I began meeting with several nights a week would be editing my papers for my Master's!  Thanks Ruthann! Both Ruthann and Natalie have been my cheerleaders through it all. I love em heaps!  I'm done, but NOT finished.  I'm done with my Master's but not finished learning.  I am committed to be a lifelong learner...there is so much more to learn!

Be Blessed,