A Face Only A Brother Could Love

The best gift (OK, the only gift) that I gave my brother for Christmas was to grow a beard.

Purportedly, I grew it to amuse my wife, and to honor her family’s Thanksgiving-to-Christmas beard-growing tradition. I thought that this year, the first since Kathy’s father died, would be a good time for me to make my first-ever beard attempt.

Kathy was away for Thanksgiving, so I got an 8-day start, carefully nursing my sparse beard into life like an arctic explorer using his last match to ignite a fire. She laughed when she saw it, and so I’ve put off shaving it for some weeks, now.

But the big payoff was for my brother, who spent Christmas with us at the Refuge, as we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Mark couldn’t seem to keep his hands off my scruffy face, probably overcome with jealousy and awe at my hirsute manliness (or perhaps manly hirsuteness?). He mocked and sneered, but everyone could tell that he wished he could have a beard just like mine.

Envy can be ugly, sometimes
As always, I bore his impertinence with quiet dignity.

Too bad, Mark. You’re stuck in the Army for another couple of years, where facial hair is not appreciated. Maybe next I’ll grow a ponytail.

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Christmas Peas

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but some pictures raise a thousand questions.

This is hardly unusual when my son Joshua, and his crafty cousin Rebecca, are involved.


Let’s just say that there was a prank involved, and Grandma was the victim. Or was she?

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Christmas Reflections

We spent Christmas this year with our extended family, out at the Refuge, where this beautiful tree adorned the corner of the Great Room. I spent some time, sitting in the dark, thinking quiet happy thoughts about Christmas and the King who came to Earth so that we could be saved from our sins.

Refuge Christmas Tree
I’ve always loved white lights, golden ornaments, and red apples on a Christmas tree.

On this first day of 2012, I’m still looking back to the awe and wonder that Christmas always evokes in my heart — how could such a holy God be willing to come to our planet as a baby?

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