Monday, December 26, 2011

Now that the cultural insanity is over and done with, I hope and pray that we may have a few still moments in which to contemplate the ostensible Reason. Don’t forget that the holy-days of the Christ Mass aren’t over until Epiphany, January 6th. Nobody’s putting a pistol to your head to take-down-the-tree-and-head-to-the-mall.

I love this blue-grassy take on the story:

It’s from a musical called Precious Childwhich features many country and Contemporary Christian artists including Russ Taff, Vince Gill, and Ashley Cleveland. Even Janis Ian... anyone remember her?

Turn it up loud and enjoy!

God Rest Ye Merry!


(p.s. I give you permission to stay in bed late today.)

Us, being merry:

I told you it gets loud.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Timeless Moments

This is the use of memory:

For liberation—not less of love but expanding

Of love beyond desire, and so liberation

From the future as well as the past.
(from “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot)

For the first time in weeks, the house is quiet.

I am alone.

It’s a gift.

There was a time when our house felt as empty and lifeless as a fizzled-out balloon.

But not lately.

It’s been popping with beautiful chaos. Loud laughter and even louder electronic devices.  Phones and doorbells ringing nonstop. Televisions blaring from rooms that are usually vacant these days. Voices yelling calling from upstairs to downstairs and back up again.


I’ve loved it. It feels normal.

But, for a moment, I cherish this solitude.

I grab the huge stack of Christmas cards that have arrived in the mail today and a glass of tea, and head for the sunroom. There’s not much sun left, but it feels bright and cheerful there.

I savor each card.

Some are from local friends we see frequently. But more cards represent faces and voices from the past. College friends we’ve almost lost touch with. Friends from our early married days in Palm Beach. Childhood besties. High School cohorts. Former business associates. Random people we’ve met all over the place.

Some folks have been faithfully sending us annual cards for 35 years.

Until fairly recently, I kept every one of them.

Every picture and brag Christmas letter.

How can you throw away people’s stories? Thirty-five years of a family’s life in pictures and narrative.

But I did, finally. After the AVM.

I flipped through bunches like I was shuffling cards, said a little prayer of thanks for the friendships, and let them go. (The cards and pictures, not the friendships.)

I’m finally learning to live lightly.

Ironically, that makes the pleasures sweeter. Knowing that you can’t hoard the moments makes them more poignant.

So now I think…

Thank you so much for sending this adorable picture of your sweet baby. He’ll be leaving us in January, but I’ll remember how precious he is. And I am enjoying his pretty blue eyes at this singular moment in time. A moment that passes as I draw the next breath.

That passes.

The sun shifts lower into the trees outside the veranda.

I take another sip of tea.

It is bittersweet, this moment.

I close my eyes and scenes from college flash by, ignited by a friend’s card featuring her cats.

I laugh outloud, all by myself.

She was so darn funny.

She still is.

But how the heck did we get so old?

I look through the pile of opened cards in my lap. The long-haired guy that I remember dancing with a lampshade on his head (it was worse than a lampshade, but this is PG) now beams with pride as he holds his grandchild. I have to search hard to find him hiding inside that distinguished gray-haired gentleman’s guise.

Yesterday’s babies now hold babies of their own.

I sit and let it soak in.

There’s been so much rushing around, so much travel, so many Christmas parties and activities, so much company… that the season has managed to slip away, as it usually does for me. It feels like it’s over before it’s even really started. Just another whirling hurdle into the next year. 

No, I'm not ready for Christmas. I haven't even bought my husband a present yet.

Respectfully, lovingly, I rest my hand on top of the pile of cards.

I am so very grateful.

Thank you, I breathe

to the senders… to God… to the universe…

thank you

for these reminders of time’s passage.

Thank you

for showing me how the hours creep, but the years fly.

Thank you

for the gift of this moment

in which to stop

and give thanks

for all the redeemed moments of my ransomed life.


A people without history

Is not redeemed from time, for history is a pattern

Of timeless moments.

(from “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot)


To everyone who's sent us a lovely card: 

Thank you for taking the time to brighten my day. Thank you for keeping up with us. Thank you for sending it to us by Snail Mail. It is such a treat to open the mailbox and find happy things in it for once!

My days of sending hand-written cards are over now, so I appreciate receiving them more than ever. For the past couple of years, I've posted an e-card on this blog. This year's is not very good. At least one daughter has groaned, "Oh, MOM, don't put that up on the internet!" But I would love to send it to anyone who would like to receive it, imperfect picture and all.  I have sent it to some people in my contacts, but Granny got confused transferring the addresses to Smilebox, so now I'm not sure who received it. 

Please email me at if you'd like an email that's not an advertisement, and I'll forward our tacky card as soon as I get a chance.

May everyone else have a holiday filled with the love of God, which passes human understanding.

God rest ye merry...

Love, Kim

Thursday, December 15, 2011

all I want for Christmas...

December 13 was Christmas night at our house.

That’s when James got to open his Christmas presents from our side of the family. He left the next morning for Montgomery to spend Christmas with his grandparents there. (And go to Disney World!)

After a couple of years of trying to split Christmas day between Athens and Montgomery, we all came to the conclusion that every other year was a better way to share. So I’m trying to put my big girl pants on and be happy that we got to spend as much good pre-Christmas time with James as we did. (But there’s no consolation prize to New York this year. Bummer.)

We had a sweet evening decorating a gingerbread man, reading Christmas stories, and having a little dinner party with James’ great-grandmother and a precious family friend. My friend “Miz Buddy” (whom James adores) even stopped by with her dog Maggie for James to play with. He’d been begging me all week to go see her, so that was a special treat.

We sang a song or two, then James tore into his Christmas presents.

For a second, it felt like Christmas morning.

After lots of dessert, we came upstairs to brush teeth. I went to get the new toothpaste and toothbrush I’d bought for James that day.

When I came back into the bedroom, I saw something brown on the rug:

In the rush of the day, scissors and tape had been left on the bed with the wrapping paper.

James decided he needed a haircut before his trip.

I think he was going for the tonsured monk* look.

Somehow, I think that’s fitting.

He's just a little St. Francis of Assisi.

*tonsure: the part of a cleric's head, usually the crown, left bare by shaving the hair.


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi
(1182 –1226)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

So Close To Home...

This story hit so very close to home:

Beautiful tall blonde.


In her twenties.

Living her dream.

Bright, even brilliant, future…

But, in an instant,

something unimaginable happens:

changing life forever.

Brain injury?

Anguished parents.

Cries to God.

Prayers from around the world,

sent up like a fragrant offering.


God is glorified.

But, oh,

don’t forget to count the cost.

My prayers are with them all,

but especially with the mother.

 I think of Mary.

Mary, did you know…

your child was born to suffer?


“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, those who have been called unto His purpose.”
 (Romans 8:28)


As we did in April, 2008,, they have established a caringbridge site:

I know the Scruggs family would appreciate your prayers as much as we have.

This is such familiar territory.

Friday, December 2, 2011


(A post on Thanksgiving... late, as always.)

I am feeling very, very full.

We ate a lot on Thanksgiving and in the days following.

I fixed:

Baked brie with cranberry-pecan topping
Smoked salmon with mustard sauce and capers
Pumpkin bread
Broccoli casserole
Creamed corn
Baby lima beans
Cranberry-Apple Crunch
Pumpkin cobbler
Cranberry pudding pie

Jay and Katherine made:

Butternut squash crustini
Pumpkin soup
Turkey (delicious! Good going, Jay.)
Squash casserole
Sweet potatoes

My husband cooked:

Crab cakes

The other girls made:

Chocolate-Pecan pie

Plus, we had disgusting treats like divinity and chocolate cupcakes.

Even goody bags filled with candy.

I am accustomed to Thanksgiving celebrations involving up to 80 people. (My mother comes from a large family.) But this was just for 8 of us, counting James and Jay’s cousin Johnny, who happened to be in L.A. for auditions. (He’s moved to New York.)

All that food for 8 people.

Full isn’t a strong enough word.

Stuffed. To. Overflowing.

But it wasn’t just about the food.

Strolling along the Santa Monica pier last Saturday with my husband and grandson, I recognized a rare, but sweetly familiar, feeling.

It’s the same feeling I had when we brought home a new-born baby.


A feeling of fullness… contentment… wholeness.

 Satisfaction. Satiation. Completion. Consummation.


Too often, I carry a feeling of incompletion around like an empty sack on my back.

A sense that something is missing.

Actually, that someone is missing.

Wherever I am, there’s a little hole in my heart for the ones not there.

Our nuclear family was not, is not, perfect. But there is an unusual symbiosis of unique individuals that makes an interesting mix. The mixture creates wholeness. On the surface, two of my daughters appear to be polar opposites in many ways. The third has opted out of either extreme, and expresses herself in a singular manner. My husband and I have different, but equally strong personalities.

And yet, we are better together.

When we are all together, it’s almost magical.

At least electric. 

It’s raucous and wild and sweet and cozy all at the same time.

There is boisterous laughter and serious discussion.  

It’s loud.

Very, very loud.

(My grandson James frequently puts his hand over his ears and yells, “Stop talking!”)

But we can’t help it.

There is a joy in being all together again. Every link in place in the chain of love.

I don’t take these times for granted. As life goes on, they become increasingly rare. Every nuclear family suffers the fissure of the empty nest syndrome. The little chicks must fly off on their own to pursue their destinies… create families of their own. So as time goes on, those original family together-times become more precious.

They almost ended for us forever in April of 2008.

Now it is a very treasured gift when I can gather all my little chicks around me.

There is an exquisite sense of fullness.



Back in the Dark Ages, there used to be a church service on Thanksgiving morning. I loved the old hymns we’d sing. There was a beautiful simplicity in the ancient songs. My all-time favorite is “We Gather Together.” When the kids were young, we’d go to church, then pile in the car to drive to my grandmother’s house an hour away. My aunts (school teachers) would dress all the children up like Pilgrims and Indians, and then they would sing for us.

Can you imagine anything sweeter than a little band of Pilgrims and Indians lisping, “We gadder togadder”?

It made my heart glad.


As I was walking along the Pier last Saturday, thinking about fullness, a thought flashed:

Gathering together to worship is a gorgeous thing that gladdens the heart of God.

God created us for the purpose of relationship… with Him and with each other. He hates estrangement, division, separation. He longs to gather all of His children back into His loving arms. He desires for His “quiver to be full.”

Jesus expressed the cry of His heart:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” (Matthew 23:37)

God experiences loss when His children wander away from Him. When His family is incomplete. When a child is missing.

It is not His will that even one be lost.

The Father-heart of God aches with longing for His absent children. He wants His family to be complete. He leaves behind the ninety-nine good little sheep to search for one stray lamb. 

He misses us when we're gone.

Think about it:

God's heart isn't full without you.

He invites each of us to enter in to the finest Thanksgiving feast of all.

And we will be full at last.


“How long will you wander, my wayward daughter?”  (Jeremiah 31:22) 

“…in Christ you have been brought to fullness. (Col. 2:10)