Friday Five (Vol. 15)

— 1 —

Until today I’ve been able to avoid going into any major shopping mall or store since the Christmas shopping season of madness kicked into high gear. Something happened last night that caused this change. At my daughter’s daycare Christmas party last night she climbed onto Santa’s lap. “What would you like for Christmas, Sophie?”

“I want a princess crown please. I had a pretty one but my dad sat on it and broke it.”

Extended pause while Santa and the room of parents and kids turn to look at me.

Guess what I’m shopping for today? The first time any single one of my three children has had the courage to sit on Santa’s lap and say anything at all and this is what came out of her mouth. At least she didn’t ask for a pony.

— 2 —

I used to joke with my tongue planted firmly in cheek about the fact that I was getting a little frosty at the temples. Now that I have a teenager firmly planted in the middle of all his glorious teendom I consider them to be a badge of honor. There is a gap between our first and the next two due to some issues with fertility and a miscarriage. What this means is that when we attend events at our elementary school we are often seated with parents much, much younger than us. Their wide-eyed innocence is charming. So I sit there among them with my salt-and-pepper head of hair and just nod and smile at them when one is freaking out over some incredibly mundane issue they are having with little Emma or Katie. It’s not nearly the same, but I do get a sense of what it must have been like for combat veterans when their battle-thinned ranks were being filled by green replacements from stateside. Hmmmm…I’ll have to watch myself or I’ll likely say “Keep your head down, keep your eyes forward and pray you don’t get your ass shot off.”

No, that probably wouldn’t do I suppose…

— 3 —

A few days ago I posted a quote on Facebook that said:

“When I have a little money, I buy books. If I have any left I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus

Along with the photo I wrote “I am now officially hunting for this poster to frame on my wall near my bookshelves. Please direct all empathy towards my wife and children, won’t you? Or else convince them that dad is finally ready for a Nook or Kindle soon.”

I still am not a fan of e-readers. I never will be. But I have finally come to terms with the fact that I need one for two reasons: 1) space; and 2) economics. I’ve got three six foot tall bookshelves overflowing with books, stacks by my bed and a few boxes full in storege, and plans to build two large ones upstairs. I’m not yet a candidate for that awful show “Hoarders”, but I’m getting painfully close. Admitting I have a problem is half the battle right?

What sealed it for me was finding a biography of the 16th century painter Caravaggio. The hardcover is $36 and would take up a lot of space. Ordering it from Amazon would reduce the price to $26.37, but I’d still have the space issue. It’s expensive for a Kindle or Nook, priced at $17.99, but I’d have no issues with shelf space. I’ve always had my eye on a multi-volume set of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. Five thick volumes, for sale anywhere from $150-$250. At least 12-15 inches of shelf space. Or available on a Kindle for ninety-nine cents.

Being much smarter than me, my wife figured this out a month ago. When I arrived home later that day she met me in the kitchen and asked me which I prefer: the Kindle or the Nook. My birthday is next week and she’s officially on the hunt for whatever she can get that will free up space.

I love that Erasmus guy.

— 4 —

Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.

Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.

Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.

And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.

~ Prayer attributed to Frank Borman, Apollo 8 mission commander (1968)

— 5 —

The name I chose for my confirmation name when entering the Catholic Church was Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi. While his feast day is celebrated October 4th the message in his prayer and this presentation by Sarah McLachlan is appropriate this time of year.

May you and your family have a Merry and very Blessed Christmas!

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