Grace Notes
A hopeful newspaper column ~ by Natalie Costanza-Chavez
* Holidays

Holiday Bloom
Today is a day of God. Perhaps it is too loud to remember that. Maybe piles of wrapping paper still need to be stuffed into trash bags, and pieces of toys are already lost. Perhaps a toddler is riding a dump truck through the kitchen, or a teen is simultaneously wired up to an iPOD, a laptop, and some sort of handheld device, glassy-eyed – singing off key to a downloaded song while trying to suck on a candy cane.
Merry Annoying Bells
“Please don’t be annoying on purpose,” I said to my kids as we careened and smooshed our way – all the same time – out a store door last week. A teenage girl overheard me and said she loved the line, was going to use it on everyone.
Telling Charlotte
Children ask hard questions. A sampling: “If we borrow a truck and take Grandpa-Great’s coffin back to church, will God raise him from the dead?” “If drugs are illegal, how do kids get them?” “How do we know there are no dragons in the world?”
A Stack of Dimes
Her one vice was a single cigarette a day. She smoked it standing at her kitchen sink, and hid it under the sponge after a draw or two, if she heard anyone coming. Her name was Carmelita. We called her LaLa.
Mandarin Oranges
I don’t run errands – I just cross things off a list and breathe a happy sigh until I’ve put off a new list for several more weeks and must, again, venture out. Refusing to call it “running errands” makes me feel like the whole process is less objectionable.