Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016...and 11 years of NOT keeping resolutions.

The holidays are nearly over. I am sad. I have really enjoyed this holiday season. Even with the mild, non-Christmasey weather that seemed to keep many people's Christmas spirit away, I loved almost every minute. The decor, the twinkling lights, the time with family, the magic of Christmas morning, our traditions. We went to my sister's house on the 23rd and Matthew and I joined my parents and Jenn's (my sister)family at Christmas Eve mass. I love mass..I am pretty sure I am a closeted Catholic! When were sitting there waiting, because my sister is a good, regular attending Catholic and we arrived nearly ONE HOUR ahead of time, my mom was lamenting about those we know that have lost loved ones this year. My mom made the statement, " I am sure so and so had no idea that last Christmas was the final one they would spend with their loved one. We should all remember that!" I smiled and said, "Oh, mom! Please! I am a palliative care social worker!, I think about that all the time!:  And even before that, every Christmas since I was about 11 I have thought, "Who won't be here next Christmas?" Morbid? Yes! But, that's how this girl has always rolled and really I think it is what draws me to my career. I think about things like how death will forever alter celebrating things like Christmas all the time and I always have. I think at some points in my life, this morbid take on life and death has been detrimental. But, as I get older, I think that I have learned to really respect the fragile state that is this life. Everything you know to be your reality can literally change in a moment. I know that it is unlikely that that will be my reality or yours but I want to savor all this life has to offer me. I want to enjoy my kids and my Christmases before the bitterness of losing a loved one taints it for a year or years. I want to rejoice and praise the years we've had good health and good fortune. I want to strive to have New Year's resolutions that will ensure that the next Christmas I will be just a merry. I want to work on my faith and relationship with Christ so that when life and death happens, I can go on. I can learn to love and celebrate again..not merely exist.
There are so many things I hate about how I live this life. I am disappointed in so many of the ways I am choosing to live my life. If the world really knew the mistakes I have made in the past five years I am sure they would be pretty disgusted. Alas, I can't change any of it. It is who I am. That is the progress I have made. To own ME. I am flawed and messed up. I will try and try again to redeem myself but I will always fall short. That can be somewhat discouraging as I face another year. Part of me is thinking.."Please, woman, you will do what you have always done. Don't even try." But, then there is the part of me that seeks something better, something holier. That part says.."God can redeem anything, any PART, any UGLINESS. Come clean." And so, I am. I believe in that part, in that power.
I have had this blog for eleven years. So THERE! I can stick with something. I can make good choices. It's just hard for me. I struggle. Forty years of living has taught me that nearly all of us do in some way! I have many resolutions for this year but above them all is to COME CLEAN. To own my ugliness, ask for help, pray for mercy, seek holiness, surround myself with goodness. 2016..I am coming for you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Messy messes

Ellie had a "family" stocking project. Get ready for some brutal honesty but when I saw that damn stocking come home in her folder with the instructions.."Do not use markers, crayons, or pencils" "Be creative use twigs, ribbon, buttons, etc" I thought to myself.."What the HELL?!" I can barely get our arses to school each morning in clean clothes, with our homework done, lunches packed! And now I have to come up with the time and materials for a "winning stocking." Ellie nagged me for over a week about the stocking. "Mommy!" she pleaded.."We have to do the stocking! Everyone else did their stocking!" I was shamed by the stocking! So, yesterday, I sent Caroline to the neighbors for glue, because of course we didn't have any to start in our stocking.  By the way, back in September I designated a drawer for school/art supplies and the Simpson kids have blown that to hell. Anyways, Caroline, Ellie and I sat down and embarked on decorating the dang stocking yesterday. I looked in the pantry and found raisins, sprinkles, candy canes and a glitter pen. Perfect! I thought. We were hard at work and when we finished, I proudly surveyed our masterpiece and thought. YES! That is worthy of the other kid's stockings. Mrs Rumora, Ellie's first grade teacher, might think I am delinquent but boy, this stocking was worth the wait!! Fast forward to this morning when Ellie ran to its "safe, drying spot" and found a runny, NOT dried, raisins were too heavy, this stocking which was glorious last evening, now SUCKS!" Ellie looked at me with dismay in her eyes and said..."Mommy, this is a mess!" Jeff looked at me silently, with judging eyes that screamed.."What the hell were you thinking with the raisins and green, sugar sprinkles that seemingly melted into the glue making a BIG, GREEN, MESS?" How did I react? I got creative! I would not be dismayed by our stocking mess! I quickly devised a plan. Get a Harding's bag sweet girl, we will put in there to continue to dry and tomorrow, I am sure, Mrs. Rumora will be able to hang it! She was fine with it, Jeff humored me and I haven't heard anything from Ellie's sainted teacher so I am assuming our messy stocking will find its place in the first grade hallway!
I have been thinking a lot lately about Christmas and the gift we all received all those years ago in the manger. Jesus came amidst the mess and was born in a messy, stinky stable to redeem us. He can make good of any mess we've created. He sees our well intended stocking plans and wants to help us right our wrongs. What a gift! Every year I find myself in awe of the God I am so privileged to serve. I can never make too many messes for Him. It has taken me the good part of forty years to process that truth. Christ will always seek me. He wants all of me and you, even the messy parts! Amen! I can't think of happier reason to celebrate Christmas than that! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a less messy New Year!