A Dog’s Life?

Beckley and Ahi

Tonight is the last night for another year that I’ll sit here writing in the glow of the Christmas tree.  The house is quiet, my daughter having gone back to her home a few miles away and my stepdaughter and her significant other out to see his friends on their last evening on the East Coast.

This evening my husband is enjoying a rare guys’ night with his soccer friends, many of whom he coached long ago when they were in high school.  They’ve played together for three decades now, through joy and children and job changes and loss.  Their friendship has been one of the anchors in my husband’s life.  They are family.

I have been left home to dog-sit.  Continue reading A Dog’s Life?

Christian Logic–Is That an Oxymoron?

Mom's Creche

One of Mom’s favorite Christmas decorations

This week has been an emotional one for me.  As I draw closer to this first Christmas of my life when I won’t be able to talk with my mother, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about her life and my own.  She was forever shaped by a childhood faith tradition that focused much more on the bloodiness of crucifixion than on the gracious gift of a baby’s birth.  Then she married into a family that more than once told her that she wasn’t going to heaven unless she joined their church—the only one they believed would be in heaven.   Continue reading Christian Logic–Is That an Oxymoron?

Holiday Spirit? Part Two

Hanukkah at White House

Holiday Traditions at the White House

One of my readers, Phil Buckberg, posted a story in response to my Holiday Spirit? blog on Tuesday.  I was delighted that Phil offered his own story from the perspective of his own faith, which has been my vision for this blog since I launched it a little over a year ago.  Since I’m not always sure that people see the comments at the end of a blog, I asked him if I could repost his story, and he graciously agreed.  Thank you, Phil, for making this a dialogue.  I hope that his story will inspire others of you to join in the conversation, so here is today’s guest blog:

Many years ago, when I worked for Xerox, we held a holiday-time fundraiser for a colleague who was, as I recall, a very young widow with mounting bills. As it was December, we made it a holiday party in which many of us sang and danced and generally made fools of ourselves for a good cause.

Our “director” decided that, for one part of the show, we should all wear our corniest Christmas clothing, whatever it might be. I told her that, being Jewish, I didn’t actually own Christmas clothes, Continue reading Holiday Spirit? Part Two

Holiday Spirit?

Christmas Tree

Years ago, when I first moved to the DC area, a Jewish colleague shared a Christmas story with me.  She told me how, when she was in high school, she felt left out every December when her classmates had Christmas parties and she was never once invited.  After I heard her talk about how that made her feel, I would think of her each year, long after we went our separate ways to other jobs.  Hearing her story made me understand why the diverse county I work in asks staff not to display Christmas decorations.

In our county, we have a large Jewish population, and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are school holidays.  But unlike Christmas—and even Christmas Eve—which are paid holidays for all employees, only school-based ten-month employees have a paid day off on non-Christian holidays.  Jewish staff who work in the county offices must take vacation leave to observe their holy days.  Continue reading Holiday Spirit?

Know Any Snow Wimps?

Dec. 8, 2013

The snow begins–December 8, 2013

I hear it every year during advent.

No, that isn’t a typo.  Not Advent with a capital A—advent with a lower-case a.  The one that heralds the coming of Snow with a capital S.

I heard it this year for the first time at church last Sunday:  “I’m from [insert your favorite frozen tundra region here], and WE know how to drive in snow.”

Continue reading Know Any Snow Wimps?


Mom Dad Grandchildren

Mom, Dad, and grandchildren

Last night the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre launched opening night of their annual European Union Film Showcase by screening the Polish film Walesa: Man of Hope.  I was less than enthusiastic about going.  First, I wasn’t an admirer of Walesa, who, like a lot of the great leaders of his generation, wasn’t particularly enlightened about woman’s place in the world.  And I wouldn’t get home and into bed until almost midnight and would have to get up at 5:00 a.m.  (I’m also not a fan of foreign films because I’m too lazy to read subtitles.  It took my husband weeks to convince me that Life is Beautiful was a film worth seeing despite the subtitles.)

But I can’t begin to count the times my husband has cheerfully accompanied me to events he has no interest in, including the first prom ever at a new school where I was on the opening year staff.  And it isn’t often that my Polish husband has the opportunity to attend an event that honors a heritage that is more often the butt of offensive jokes.

Continue reading Solidarity?