Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Challenge

Today I was returning an item at Costco. I was standing at the return counter waiting, patiently I might add, when this horribly bossy, loud, rude woman came up to the counter, bypassing the waiting people in line, to literally scream about how "THIS COSTCO IS THE ONLY ONE THAT DOESN'T HAVE A COFFEE GRINDER!! "She was losing her sh$% about coffee beans being ground. Really? Is this what's become of us? Losing it over coffee beans?
Maybe it's the work I do, but I am becoming less and less tolerant of the "coffee bean" situations in the world.  I realize that there may certainly be extenuating circumstances which made this woman lose it over coffee. Maybe she had a crap day, week, year? But this situation made me think of the people who truly are suffering through the holidays. I think of the people I have worked with that have lost loved ones in car accidents, to cancer, to strokes. I think of moms and dads who I have helped say goodbye to their babies and kids in the ER and truth be told, it haunts me. Every time I look at my Christmas tree I am reminded of so many memories I have made with my children, my husband, my family. Maybe my job has taken some of the fun out of the holidays because I literally think, "Goodness, one day some of these ornaments will be very painful to look at." I realize this isn't necessarily normal or healthy and probably speaks to some unresolved secondary trauma I am dealing with. But, what it has inspired me to do is to make the holidays brighter for those that are hurting. I am making a list of five things to do that might bring some HOPE and CHEER back into the lives of those who can't wait for this month to be over. For the people who ache at the thought of a Christmas morning because the absence of their loved ones will be so very palpable. Here's my plan..before Christmas I will..

1. Buy coffee for someone at line behind me and throw in a five dollar gift card for the next cup at Dunkin Donuts.
2. Make a batch of Christmas molasses cookies and mysteriously drop them off at a neighbor's house.
3. Make dinner for a family that could use a night off from worrying, "What's for dinner?"
4. Send my friend who lost a child a special ornament that will let her know we remember her sweet girl.
5. Buy gloves and hats with the kids and take them to the mission. My kids are old enough to know how very blessed they are to never know what it is like to escape cold and not know where you are sleeping.
So, blog readers, how about you? What can you do? Maybe it isn't five things, but it certainly can be one thing. I challenge you to seek you heart, seek your community and bring some HOPEFULNESS back to someone who may very well feel that Christmas may never be merry again! 

Friday, December 05, 2014

Happy 10 years blog!

My blog is ten years old this week! I don't think I have been this consistent with something, well, umm, ever. Consistency is not something I excel at usually. I am so glad that I have continued to write here in this space. This week I have spent a lot of time reading over the last ten years of posts. Wow. The biggest blessing in having this blog is many of the things I thought at the time I would never forget or would never endure have long left my memory. One of the most difficult parts of having three kids close in age is that when they were very small we were just trying to hang on from day to day. Sometimes I feel like I blocked a lot of those days out because if truth be told, it was hard, really hard. Parenting continues to be the hardest job I have ever had. I often feel that I am not the mom my kids deserve. But, then as I read back over even the smallest victories, I feel a little better about who we are as a family and who I am as a mother.
Many of my posts chronicle my walk with my faith. The times where I have felt very close to God and times where I couldn't be farther from him. It encourages me to know however, that I have never given up. I continue to seek and believe and trust in Him.
Weight loss and dieting and attempts at living a healthier life style are also a frequent theme here. Oh, how I wish this was not such a struggle.  I wish I could say that I feel like I am balanced in all things and moderation is my motto. Nope,  never has been, but I will continue to try.
My transition from being a full time stay at home mom, to a full time student, to a third shift ER social worker have been journaled here. Those posts serve to remind me that indeed I am consistent and I did achieve a pretty difficult goal. That is one take a way I have realized throughout this journey, when I do set my mind on something, I will get it.
Love and marriage and the joys and difficulties of being in relationship with someone for over 20 years also have been written about here. I love my husband. Marriage is harder than I ever imagined it to be. I am grateful for the foundation of faith in our marriage because honestly, if we didn't have that, I am not sure how we'd get through these years where parenting and the stress of just trying to get by wouldn't threaten to make one of us throw in the towel. The other night we were snuggled up on the couch watching a movie and I looked up at Jeff and said, "I used to dream about this when I was imagining our life together, just doing something ordinary like enjoying a Christmas movie in our home together." In typical Jeff fashion he just looked at me like I was a little bit loopy, but he kissed my head and said "Me too". See, 12 years in and he knows when to throw his wife a nostalgic bone:)
I am most grateful for all the posts that chronicle specific things the kids have said and done. Stages, phases, firsts and lasts. It is all here for them to read one day. I hope when they read over these entries they will know how much they were loved and cherished. That their mom and did the best they could and were always trying to be the best mom and dad they could be!
Happy Birthday Blog! Thanks to anyone who reads here and especially for those of you who have encouraged me to keep writing or have told me you appreciate something I have written here. It is nice to know that other people can relate or take something away from this space!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Advent..a season of preparing.

This year I am determined to integrate more of the real spirit and meaning behind Christmas for our family. The kids are at ages (9,8 and 5) where they can participate in more meaningful conversations about the true reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ. I went to a Catholic church this past Sunday. I arrived about fifteen minutes before mass began. As I sat there praying, I felt my mind was cluttered and unable to focus on preparing my heart for church. I finally decided to mediate on one word, I chose, peace. I repeated that over and over and slowly felt my mind settling down and my prayers soon followed. The priest spoke during the homily about how Advent is about preparing ourselves for the second coming of Christ. He likened it to as the Bible says, "Christ will come again like a thief in the night." Upon first hearing this, my reaction was, "That doesn't sound fun." As I thought more about it, I considered the analogy for more than what it first appears. It won't be fun if Christ comes and I am not prepared, if my family is not prepared. If our hearts are not right with the Lord. If we are prepared I feel that it will seem more like a surprise visit from a long, lost friend. The kind where you wrap your arms around them and hug tightly thinking, "Oh, how I have missed you! I am so glad to see you!" but about a million times sweeter!
I purchased Ann Voskamp's family Advent devotional book for our family to read each night this month. It is a beautifully written book and I highly recommend it. 

 This year I want to instill in my children's hearts that God gave us the best gift we could ever receive, His son. That tiny baby, who came to make things right and offer all of us the greatest gift of everlasting life and peace.