This gift is not for everyone!

When Jill gave me a list of things she would appreciate for Christmas it included a bag of garlic.

I think she was just being zesty, (literally), she didn’t expect such a thing but Jill has a very lively sense of humor, it crept into her list making. The truth is Jill loves garlic and cooks with it whenever she can.

Last Monday I took one of our people into Regina for an appointment. That meant a quick as possible visit to a crazy busy Costco. There I happened upon a bulk bag of garlic for around 5 dollars. That seemed a small price to pay to indulge Jill’s sense of humor. I didn’t think very long before putting it in the cart.

It was a part of Jill’s stocking. On Christmas morning when she pulled off the tissue Russ wrapped it in, there was alot of amusement, some laughter and a good photo to be had.

The bag of garlic sat on the counter as boxing day unfolded, then Jill and I decided to tackle it. It would not become that mushy sprouting kind of garlic if we could help it.

We split the heads up into their individual cloves, and started to peel them. I abandoned Jill partway through to tackle a different job that was pressing on me. Jill stayed the course and created an amazing supply of garlic to be frozen. I asked her, “how long do you think this will last you?” She said, “probably til I am 24!”

A different kind of wrapping paper!

I can’t imagine the garlic will last that long, but this is a gift that will keep on giving for at least several months. I am curious how it will fold into family lore. Will I now think of Jill whenever I see those bulk garlic packages? Will we refer back to this gift through the year and in future years? Maybe. Every Christmas seems to have some standout feature. The Kyle family talk about the Christmas the tree fell over during breakfast. We talk about the Christmas we danced on the street to a Barbie cassette tape. We talk about the Christmas I lost my mind from excitement over satin pyjamas. Around home here we talk about last year as the Christmas when Grandma Shirley was here (Covid kept her from her own daughter). We talk about the Christmas it was so warm that Russ took toddler Gina for a pony ride. We are happy to be reminded of the year Morgan got the wisemen from the nativity in a hide and seek match with John Wayne type Playmobil figures. So many memories. Maybe Christmas 2021 will be known more for the garlic than the snow, cold, wind and grief in the midst of a pandemic. Maybe. Maybe this blog will help that transformation. Long live the healing power of garlic!

December 8th – Checking In

Its shortly after 6am, I have been awake since 5:15am, thats the fourth day in a row of that nonsense. Day 1 was so that I could be ready to lead worship and get there on time, day 2 was because I forgot to turn off my alarm from day 1 and I couldn’t go back to sleep, day 3 was because our dog Maddie started barking for no apparent reason, today it was Coffee dog, same time, same thing, random barks starting at 5:15. I went to bed earlier last night to try and compensate for how foggy headed I felt and I am glad because I am ready for a bit of writing this morning instead of desperately trying to get more sleep.

I thought maybe I would write about a few things that have been happening.

On Friday night Russell and I drove to pick up Morgan from a friends’ place. We had never been in their home before but were welcomed in for a drink. They had a couple friends over already. The six of us, and Morgan and his friend and dogs and other kids moving in and out sat in their kitchen and had a really good visit. Do you know what didn’t happen? Cellphone activity. You would never know cell phones existed except for a story that got told about forgetting one and me getting a text I needed to check and answer right at the very end of the visit. It was so cool to experience that. It felt old fashioned and right and good.

I spent my weekend with my head deeply immersed in thoughts and stories I was exposed to as a result of preparations for the sermon on Sunday morning. I listened to a priest on youtube, his name Father Gregory Boyle, he has overseen a very effective gang rehab ministry in Los Angeles from its very beginning. He knows alot of stuff about life. While I tuned in to hear about compassion I have taken away new wisdom about how important it is that we are all connected to each other and about what needs to be in my head as I am doing my lifework. It has been a gift.

Monday morning when the alarm went off at 5:15, I grabbed my phone to turn it off quickly (with some exasperation at myself), and then noticed I had a Messenger bubble notification on my screen. I tried to go back to sleep but wasn’t successful. I checked that notification. Well then for sure I didn’t go back to sleep. Late the night before someone had sent me a video, I presume they thought I needed to watch it, seeing the title stirred feelings of anger and stirred up my brain. It was called, “why are people choosing to live in cages?” I lay there wondering if I should respond to it, I thought to myself “I should watch it” but then thought, “why?” With all of Father Boyle’s wisdom about relationship on my brain I think I was sensitized to what was going on in me as this link landed in my world. What I needed was a message to go along with the link, I needed the person to say, “Hey Kathy, I sense you have some pretty clear convictions about all this Covid stuff. Listen, I saw this video today, it made me think of you. It had a good illustration I wanted you to hear. I would be curious what you think?” If that message had landed with the link then we would be in the land of relationship. I might have then answered back, “Hey, thanks for thinking of me and taking the time to connect about this stuff. I honestly don’t know if I will watch it. I am tired and I don’t have much of a brain for conflict right now. Its Christmas, I got this grief thing going on in a different way than last year, I have lots of projects in front of me. Mostly, the title throws me off, honestly, the reality of a cage just doesn’t connect. I see what is being asked of us Canadians is because something very big is at stake. I was asked the other day, “where did you get your mask? I love it!” My answer, “Newfoundland.” I was in Newfoundland this fall. So, yeah, I am not feeling pulled by this title. I really thank you for thinking of me.”

I think I would attach this picture, just for a visual about why the illustration of a cage has nowhere to land in me.

This is an extremely corny thing I am sharing, but to celebrate our 20th anniversary we had some pictures taken with our wedding clothes on, situated on the most eastern point of the continent. In this picture the only thing ahead of us is Europe, everything and most everyone dear to us is at our backs.

Without any attempt at human connection going with the delivery of this link it was kind of disorienting. I don’t know this person well at all, what does she want of me? She started this, let her create a little context for me, I have enough miscellaneous stuff floating around for my brain to manage. So that is something I have been working on getting my head around these days.

We decorated for Christmas about 10 days ago. Grandma Shirley came over and we had a day of getting at the work of pulling out the boxes, rearranging the furniture, setting up and hanging and discovering again all our old favorites. We ate copious amounts of treats, except ju jubes which got overlooked in our preparations. It almost didn’t feel like Christmas without jujubes and our favorite Christmas CD which we somehow misplaced. Christmas will come even if we don’t have the Veggietales Christmas Album on. I guess. I love the end result. As the days get dark so fast and it has turned really cold, the lights and the gentleness mean that much more.

This was definitely a time for team work.

Yesterday Russ picked up a large amount of product from the Vet Clinic as we prepare to work with our herd to delouse and deworm them. I believe the bulls are first up and that is scheduled for this weekend. I have been shopping for the gates that Russell needs, our local Peavey Mart didn’t end up having them. So, thats just a few sentences about what is percolating at the ranch. The days are more predictable, generally speaking, and I value that.