Tuesday, December 29, 2009
January 5, 2006
We sang "The Old Rugged Cross" at church last night and it inspired me. It is the phrase "the emblem of suffering and shame" that got me thinking. Everything that God has used for His will has been an emblem of suffering and shame, mostly shame. (Christ born in a manger, dying on a cross, the sinful nature of the people of the Old Testament that were Christ's lineage, etc.) It is a very sobering realization.
I sat there at church filled with shame about my life and where I have been, choices I have made...long ago and as recently as that day. It is through that imperfection that God works. If I were perfect, I could not reach out to people. Often it is the shadows of my own sins that allow me to help someone else out of the reality of their sins. We are all crosses, so to speak, emblems of shame. I am embarrassed by the poor choices I have made, but through the blood of Jesus-I am unblemished. White as snow. I am a vision of perfection to my Heavenly Father because of the blood of Christ. That is a powerful thought! We live in a world that is full of shame. Under that shame is someone who hurts and is hurting. Thank you God for REDEMPTION! Thank you God for your ways that surpass our understanding. Thank you for allowing me, an emblem of shame, to be a part of doing your will on Earth. Let me never forget where I have come from, but thank you God, Let me never forget where I am going either.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
We did get snow flurries for Christmas this year and that was totally awesome. We had wonderful visits with both sides of both sides of the family. My little cousin (the one battling cancer) was well enough for Christmas festivities to be at his house-truly a gift from God. However, you could tell he did not feel well and the look on his face most of the day will propel me to continue to pray for him and his family. Remission is my prayer...lifelong remission. (Wayd is his name if you will pray it with me.)
Erik's grandma made me laugh so hard at one point that I lost my breath, coughed uncontrollably and did not get it back easily. The statement was, "She may be CUTE but she's NOT pretty!" It was just so unexpected. I don't know why. Grandma has never been one to hold back. Upon meeting me, she cackled, looked me right in the eye and said, "OH! You're a BIG girl!" I loved her instantly. A fellow human lacking a filter. It has helped me to develop one.
On the other side of Erik's side of the family, we had Tennesseans and Floridians join us at his parent's house and it was so much fun. So many many young children! AND that is what makes it so much fun. They played and played and played. Barbie is always the most popular girl toy. Other toys just don't come close. And the boys, they played with everything and wrestled. Boys just like wrestling. And pestering girls. Lilly is so fun to pester. My other two just enjoyed sitting around and being told how much they had grown and how pretty they are. Torture, you could tell it was killing them. So much so that they stayed in place to receive the pronouncements. They also let the littler kids climb on them and generally made us proud of the young ladies they are becoming.
My sides of the family were combined. My parents who have been divorced for about 33 years now unite for holidays. It is both bizarre and comfortable. It is also handy because it means one less festivity to plan. (Might I add that the dropped festivity was not the most festive festivity either since my Dad did not ever put up a tree and has a low tolerance for kid noise and festivating. ) We had lots of good food and a pretty good game of "Dirty Santa". We played Dirty Santa on Erik's side of the family too. However, it did not hold a candle to the Dirty Santa game that produced the most lovely sailboat clock ever. It makes noises and lights up. I decided to take it out of the box and set it up to decorate our home. It is hilarious. So delightfully tacky. It will remind me not to take life too serious and remind my hubby to ALWAYS steal during the Dirty Santa games. GO with what you KNOW-never trust those wrapped presents no matter how pretty. Inside might lurk a sailboat clock.
My children loved all of their presents and ended up with a bit of Christmas cash as well. We tried to shop a bit yesterday whilst doing some wrong size returns but they decided it would be more fun to fight while mom was in the bathroom forcing an early return home. There was much pouting in the land but I predict the next mall visit will not be taken for granted. However, they had already seen several of their homeschool friends and bought a few things, so all was not lost...but still, the point was made! I just don't have tolerance for the bickering.
Today we have been chillin' mostly. Lots of good TV movies and I finally got around to watching UP! We got it from our cousins Skip and Dena and I LOVE it. It is one of my new favorites and I am happy to own it. "I was hiding under the porch because I LOVE you." My goodness, I love my kitty cats, but I am a dog person to the core. This movie had me long before "SQUIRREL!" though! It's a good 'un.
I hope your holiday celebrations were a delight. This is a tough time of year for many, and if you are among those who have painful holidays, I hope you were blessed in some way. Jesus is the reason for this season and He promises to work out every bad thing for Good for those that love Him and allow it.
A fresh new year is just around the corner and I am very excited to close this one out and get a brand spankin' new one.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The year 2010 is rapidly advancing. It only seems like yesterday we were worrying about all the glitches Y2K would bring us. Oh my! I truly have probably forgotten more than I can remember. However, I clearly remember all of the eye rolls I gave to grown-ups who warned me that time goes faster as you get older. They sure weren't kidding. As mad as it makes me to see Christmas things nestled in with the Halloween candy, it serves as a reminder how quickly Christmas sneaks up on us! So now it is time to sum up the year 2009 in this, our Christmas newsletter. I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas season and that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in your heart.
Erik has had a very eventful year! He is no longer a mail carrier. Now he manages the regional fleet of postal vehicles for Western Kentucky. He has his own office, tons more responsibility and the same pay. He does love it though and we get to have him home on Saturdays. Of course, he is still drumming. I can't name all the bands. Just know that if you want to hear him play, he pretty much keeps our town rockin' most weekends.
Erika is now an 8th grader. It doesn't seem possible that she will be in high school next year. We are officially (prayerfully) sitting on the fence about sending her to public school or continuing with homeschool next fall. She continues to excel in all things artsy/crafty. She has a budding interest in architecture...doesn't sound as poetic as starving artist, does it?
Kayla is in 7th grade. she is sharp as a tack, we think it is residuals from the purple hair dye she used on her hair this summer. The middle children always find a way to stand out, right? She loves to read and plans to write the next great novel...right after she gets off of facebook.
Lilly is now a 3rd grader. My baby, a third grader? How did that happen? She longs to be as old as her sisters. She worships their every move. She still sings with the Symphony Children's chorus and also continues her piano lessons.
Janice? Who knew it would be so hard to have three children with three different sets of activities? Oh, and I decided to use my free (ha) time to serve on the board of my homeschool support group, PATCH. It has been a bit more work, but it is grown-up brain stimulation that I desperately needed. Homeschooling continues to go well. Of course, it is the toughest job I've ever loved. We have days that are the 'best day ever' mixed in with the days from you-know-where. All in all though, we are very blessed.
It has been a year of growing and changing for us-as is every year. I am excited to crack open a fresh new year as soon as we savor another bright celebration of our beloved Savior. We sincerely wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and may God bless you mightily.
Love from our family to yours!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
- God has blessed me immensely by giving me a friend with some similar struggles as another loved one in my life. This is a constant source of strength and encouragement to me. It helps me remember that DISEASES are big and scary but with SUPPORT, not as big or scary.
- My denial of diseases that are big and scary is lessening. They come in all shapes and sizes and impact us in forever ways. Denial is not a good plan but hard to let loose of.
- We had a wonderful evening last night with what I will have to call extended family because there are no other words. It was good food and good fellowship. I love the Christmas traditions our family gets to enjoy together. I hope my kids are making wonderful memories.
- My girls can usually be counted on to be grateful and also to have good manners in the gifting department. This doesn't stop my constant reminders, but it is a good thing.
- A recent job offer, sideline-of course, is in our journey. I remain undecided. There are many things in our life that could use a good shake-up and this area is tops. This could be a really awesome step of faith for us. I hope we are open to God's leading, no matter the direction. This seems to be a question that keeps repeating and in the past the answer seemed crystal clear. These days, not so much-at least for me.
- As my sucke' attitude mingles with my depression, it is getting harder to go through the motions of life. The good news is that I am forced to rely on God all day long, pretty much every day. The better news is that those unrealistic expectations I have been harboring for so long have been handed to God. As soon as I can really give them up-truly letting go of them-I know God will hand something better back. He is in the business of taking all our broken dreams and plans, repackaging them and reminding us His plan is better. My heart knows this, but my heart also really wanted those dreams and plans. My pride really liked my plans.
So all in all, I feel very blessed today. However, in the blunt world of honesty that I live in, I can't fake a big cheesy smile. I am forced to just be resting in the arms of a God that loves me whether I am sporting a smile or hanging by a thread.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
My girls are good and I just have to remind myself of that 100 times a day. AND, pray without ceasing. Seriously, no ceasing!!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Postal Christmas party
finished and printed Christmas letters ready to mail (well almost)
PATCH Mom's Christmas party
Christmas cookies made
Christmas cookies swapped
These things have finally all worked together to get me in Christmas appreciation mode. Today, as an added bonus, my mom came by for a visit. WOW. I just keep reading that sentence. There was a time in my life when my mom popped by for visits so often that it just drove me crazy. Fast forward a few years and it makes me tear up. You truly don't know how good some things are until they are snatched away!! We've been through so much and it is an amazing milestone to have her come over to see my Christmas tree. She can get by with just a cane now, but to get up the few steps we have she knew to bring her walker. It scares me a bit to think of her getting out and doing things. She is so vulnerable. But mostly, it makes me really happy for her to have her life back. Not the same way-some freedom is lost to her forever. This level of freedom we will take. And the visit today? I am so thankful for our family's Christmas miracle of an almost independent momma that can make her way around to see her daughter's Christmas tree and check up on the housekeeping. ( ;
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I tell myself that will change as we get more into the festivities of Christmas. A few gatherings with friends and family will make everything all better. This is my favorite time of year and this year it just isn't doing it for me. I'm not going into alot of grumbling because that really doesn't help anything. Some of the circumstances in my life really make me crazy. And yet, we all have circumstances. Mine are no more or less than anyone else's.
All I really know is that this Christmas, the serenity prayer is on my lips non-stop. There are positive changes I could make. There are things about myself that need to change. There are blessings that I don't fully plug into. There are blessings I forget to count. The funny thing about life is that if everything is always good, your character won't grow a bit. Every good thing usually has some bad to weed out of it. Weeding the bad out is hard work and I often neglect it and wonder why I can't find the good. I think I have too many weeds in my character garden to enjoy Christmas this year. The first step is admitting the weeds exist, right?
I am really fighting this year with the expectations my mind has of life, marriage, family and all that it should be versus reality. These expectations are my biggest 'weed'. The expectations are shattering all around and I am doing my best to build a new life for myself in the realities and sweep those expectations into the trash where they can't do any further damage to me and my relationships. Expectations are straight for the Evil One. The only 'for certain' of life is that nothing is 'for certain'.
Monday, December 07, 2009
- Friday night movies watching, gig for Dad.
- Saturday morning-character skate and down-town walk around to go get chocolate. Go to Southern Illinois to a tree farm. Pick out perfect tree, take lots of pictures with it...get told it has a 'fungus" problem and to please select another. Fight feelings of being annoyed with the truth that this guy cares about us getting a good tree that won't die. Choose another perfect tree, make photos. Ride in back of trailer back to tree farm 'home'. Watch them shake down the pine needles and wrap it up in a net for traveling home. Get some hot chocolate and animal crackers for the ride home.
- Relax at home for approximately one hour and then get ready for the Christmas parade. Fight about arrival time and try to get everyone to their parade spot. Walk the parade, have a blast. Sneak up four floats ahead of the Postal floats to see Hulagirl, teen angel and teen angel's friend. Try to console Lilly who is about to die that we broke formation.
- Come home and fall into bed exhausted.
- Get up and attem for church. Look at netted tree on trailer and promise it we will get it in the house soon! Come home from church and get started tag teaming for house clean up and lunch prep. Eat and prepare to get house ready for decorate tree mode. As we move furniture, decide some touch up paint is required.
- Mom finds paint and commences touching up some scuff marks. After mom has touched up a few spots, realize it is the wrong color paint. Keep painting considering it primer for the right color mom will find in a moment.
- Look through all the paint in the closet for right color. Discover there is not any paint the right color. Dad has vague recollection of running out of that color paint last year. Mom and Dad brace themselves for the required living room paint. Get entire living room painted and trimmed in record time. Take older children to youth group activity and hope to decorate tree Monday night.
- Dad stays home to console Lilly. Lilly remains giddy with excitement about decorating coupled with the upset of a day's delay.
Wow. what a way to end a week and start a new one. O Christmas tree...
Friday, December 04, 2009
My plans for tonight were to make cookies and finish our book on CD because Hubby has a gig. A whole day of girls time when we did not have to accomplish a thing. Yummy. Sandwiches for supper. Easy. Peasy.
We came home to...Hubby. ?? Apparently his drums are all set up and he will be here till the kiddos go to bed. My plans are now different. I was angry...but now? After writing this post?? Anger danger is over. I'm going to my room to read a book. Hello me time! Anger, you get a boot to the head.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Well, the times have changed. Kids-oh my goodness, even the girls!!- love to giggle and cackle over the gas they pass. So, I have tried to roll with the times and have mostly changed my attitude about it in a not really kind of way. As in, I try not to make a big deal of it, but sometimes I find myself launching into a tirade about manners and a long "back in my day" speech. So, balance. We aren't all holding it in all the time (in fact, hardly ever at home) but I am trying to at least establish some social decorum in the 'toot' category.
However, there is a huge barrier that prevents my poot social preferences from sinking in. The fact that we help care for our aging relatives. Apparently, something happens as you get older. Specifically, farts happen as you get older. Sudden undeniable gas explosions. Now, it is my firm belief that these should be completely ignored. Just pretend it never happened while creating a nice distance between you and the shooter. Sometimes though, they are so loud and shocking that there is no time to give the kids a dirty look before they explode into raucous laughter. Unfortunately, being around middle school toot hoots and howls rubs off.
All of that to say this, recently when a very mannerly lady-like member of the family 'cut the cheese', it took every ounce of self-control I had not to laugh out loud which would have embarrassed her to death. There was not even a single child around us so I have no excuse for my childish impulse. Except that farts are never funnier than when they come from someone who 'would NEVER!'