Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Me

It all began when I thought I had forgotten my cell phone, woke Brielle up from her 10 minute nap, and realized I had really forgotten my Sam’s Club card…then proceeded to spend 5 minutes wailing about it in the car with Brielle smiling at me with a question in her eyes.
I realized I’ve changed.
Maybe it is what they say is a “season of life,” or maybe I’m different for good. I won’t know until years from now if I will resort back to my former ways or if some of these new things will stick around.
Regardless, as I rolled away from the Sam’s Club parking lot, kicking myself for believing everything was working out so well only an hour before, I thought about how I might have used to react. I think I would have rolled with the situation and deemed it simply “not meant to be” for that day. But I was really upset that it was not going how I’d planned! I was not in the Christmas spirit. In fact…as I started noticing more and more…I was acting completely different from previous Christmases. Here are some of the examples I’ve mentally noted recently:
Christmas wrapping: The former Holiday Me would meticulously choose just the right wrapping paper for the person the gift was intended. This years’ ME grabs the nearest wrapping paper and whatever presents that can be wrapped from that same cut. And scissors? well, ripping seems to work just as effectively. The old Holiday Me would cut off excess paper on gifts just so that it didn’t look to stuffy with paper on the ends of the wrap. This year: that is what TAPE is for people! Who knew? And if the wrapping paper was a little short on a gift? Well…that’s fine for helping people to KNOW where to start their ripping, right? J
Sensible. I think I’m becoming more logical.
I’ve also redefined speed-wrapping. It’s not surprising considering I have 2.5 minutes of free time before my 12mo-old either 1)fusses to be let out of her crib, or 2) walks over and SITS right on top of the present and wrapping paper, or 3) rips out all of the tape. Name tags? The old Holiday Me would pick out the perfect one for the present, one that matches both the gift and the receivers’ personality. This years’ Me: stick it on as fast as possible, don’t even look at it, write the name, and if the pen doesn’t work: engraving will.
I realized on December 13th that I hadn’t even made a Christmas card list! Last year I think I had them sent out by then. Yes, that was the same time I had a newborn baby. Why did I set my own standard so high? continue to shake my head in amazement. I think I sent out anywhere from 50-60 cards. It was extremely time consuming, but worth it (?). This year I really only sent out 20 cards. Really. Just 20. I decided to send out to: people who had already thus sent us one, anyone who gave Brielle a birthday present (I enclosed a thank-you note within), or anyone who I thought we might receive a card from, the faithful ones. If you are reading this and did not get a card from us, it’s okay: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! There you go! It’s just as thoughtful! I’m thinking of you! I really am! I considered sending you a card, I wondered if you would send us one, decided you may not, and loved you just the same. I’m still sending you Holiday wishes! They are just from my heart and I knew you’d understand. I tried to get a picture of the three kids in front of the tree to put in those 20 cards, but that was just like asking all three of them to hold their breath while standing on their heads at the same time: crazy impossible! So, I went with the very last picture of the session, which I thought simply told the truth. It wasn’t perfect or even close. Brielle had just tried to give Tyler “love” and bumped her head into his. He was flinching in anticipation of her return while trying to smile for me as Will & I said, “Awwwww.”
It’s us. It’s them. It’s reality.

The annual baking party that I have with myself - where I bake several kind of cookies, desserts, and cakes and package variety baskets for teachers, friends, and neighbors? Well… you guessed it! Didn’t happen. I did bake Galette cookies for a Cookie Swap with MOPS, that felt like more than enough baking! The boys’ teacher got about 5 of the same cookie in a small bag, and not even a “Merry Christmas” attached. Neighbors and friends? I think a hearty “HAPPY HOLIDAY” wave will have to suffice this year.
Then there was the Christmas party I didn’t have. I LOVE having a Christmas party! They are so much fun! But everything within me resisted it this holiday season! I couldn’t figure it out, who was I becoming? When I told my sweet husband, he asked, “What are you doing instead? Because I know you have something else in mind.” I have to give him credit for knowing how I am! I had decided to host a Gingerbread House decorating party for the kids. It seemed simple enough, but when I found myself racing through the final house assemblies (done a day in advance) in order to get outside before darkness settled on that weird 68 degree day, I realized a deformed gingerbread house was not just going to be acceptable. NOT in the Christmas spirit!!!
The party was actually sweet, fun, and creative for all of the sweetest children in my life, and I was glad I had decided to do it. But as I assessed this new holiday ME, I realized that my days of doing these innovative projects were teetering on going extinct. Poor Brielle, if so.
I used to so be concerned about presents for the children too: size, equal number of gifts, costs about the same. I couldn’t even say how it turned out this year, as I’ve yet to do the calculations, but since we are just having a simple small Christmas….I think it worked equally in a round about way. Or maybe not. Oh well, I think everyone will be happy and that is all that matters.
While I would have loved to get Will all of the things he desires and he would have loved to do the same for me, I think we both agree that any extra funds around our house need to go towards medical bills or home repairs and projects that are running far past their allotted time frames (house painting?). In fact, if I really could ask for a gift of any kind, I’m sure that SIX HOURS of UNINTERUPTED sleep would be top on my list right now. But I don’t expect to find that wrapped an under our tree this year. So, I’m just hoping to settle for a quiet holiday, maybe some candlelight and wine, soft holiday music and peaceful spirit. That sounds like celebration summed up in a sentence for me.
So, in keeping with this year’s Holiday Me, I’ll not even reread this and fix all of my many mistakes, even though I know I typed years’ and it’s year’s many times above. OH WELL> I’ll let it drive us all crazy for awhile!!!
For now, I’m done with all things Christmas, except the anticipation I share with my children over the event of the year, the Christmas parties we’ll be attending this next week, and the dishes I’ll be making to bring with us. Other than that, I’m not stressing about all of the other things I wish I’d thought of to do, and the many things that I intended to do and never did get around to. I forgive myself. I’m over it. Okay, it will bother me a little, but it has become obvious to me that this year the New Holiday Me has had little choice but to: Change.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the sunset

This evening as I was working on homework with Tyler, dinner, and appeasing Brielle (multitasking) I happened to look outside to see the most amazing thing: a Gold Moment. The entire outside looked gold. I looked out the front window, then the back, and it was amazing! I exclaimed, “it’s GOLD outside!” We all ran outside to “experience” it. It was breathtaking. Everything really looked and seemed golden. It was so much more than a blue moment, even though blue is my favorite color. This was rarer than rare. Five minutes later, I look out and it’s PEACH. The entire sky, earth, heavens, and what seemed to be everything in all of those where a golden bluish peach. What color might that be, you ask? It baffles me, I know of no one who can create that color but God. As Tyler and I stood out on the back deck, scanning East horizon, overhead, then to the West, we couldn't stop exclaiming at the wonders of the brilliant colors and design. The way the clouds puffed out and seemed to shine rays themselves! The deepest blue sky amidst the perfect pink puffs, the lines of white clouds against lines of light blue in the East where the sun sat, then the stormy looking depth in the West. It was impossible not to be amazed. It was impossible not to feel an overwhelming admiration to the Artist who created it all, a motion of artwork, in a surreal and mystical setting…for us. It was SO something to be excited over!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Brielle!!!

We were in Arkansas over the Thanksgiving Holiday, so we had Brielle's birthday party on her actual Birthday, November 28th at her grandparents house. Both sets of grandparents were there, since Will's parents had traveled with us to AR, along with Brielle's aunt, uncle, cousins, Oma, great Aunt, great Uncle, great-grandma, friends, and our immediate family too. She LOVED being sung too, being the center of attention, opening presents, and of course tearing up the cake (ah....traditions-this one I almost debated against, but it was OKAY).

Taken Nov. 27th:

I was a little out-of-practice at cake decorating!

My mom's new toy does this:

Two grandpa's, a mom, and a dad decorated this:

While we were singing her Birthday songs:
Loved her presents:
Ate all of her cake:

On this day I did a little reflecting on the day she was born. What a glorious memory! One year later, I very much appreciate the determination and personality that God has blessed her with. She is so unique and amazing, and such a JOY to be with.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mounting Frustrations: not pretty

It never seems to fail. When I experience clarity and direction there seems to be this aftershock that follows. This time it was unnerving tests of my patience, and mounting frustration with myself. Then to consider what other people want and what some of my very close friends think of me. It gives me a headache, but that may be due to very little (constantly interrupted) sleep at night. Regardless…I know that most of the time it is really justhe enemy throwing confusion at the plan God has set before me, the one that I don’t really even know, but that doesn’t matter. The race, the path, the determination, and the faith I have to find inside of me that allows God to show me, to mold me, to hold me through times I can’t see straight. I’m a mess. I’ll just get that out there. I was once a worse mess than I am now, thank you for helping me out with all of that, God! But I’m still a mess, in constant need of redemption. Just a pilgrim, uncertain, but on this journey, regardless. I see my life and I do enjoy it. I have a hope for the future. The stuff that gets in the way of that is all really irrelevant anyway. Now…if I could only truly live that out loud!
Here is a video to make us smile:

Monday, December 1, 2008

It has been One Year...

The following pictures are recent, within the last few weeks, but the most recent (of Thanksgiving and Brielle's first birthday) I've yet to upload. Every milestone causes me to reflect on life with Brielle, and with the boys too, of course. This milestone, of her first birthday feels more significant than I expected it to. She is ONE now. That seems incredibly surreal. But it is true.
We had a wonderful holiday, we traveled to Arkansas to be with my family, we took Will's parents with us. Seven, in a SUV that It was squishy, but it worked. The food was SO GOOD. We ate and ate and ate and ate and ate......ugh, I can't even explain all of how much we ate. The last day there I was actually in pain from so much of that eating! It was time to go! lol Brielle's first birthday party was lots of fun, she was such a star, and I'll post those pictures as I get them (I didn't personally take any). She loved all of her gifts soooooo much! The following are actually pictures taken from home before we left, read more below them though....

We love to shop at Aldi:

Josh put the Santa hat on her:

While this blog is about our family and my musings...I can't help but say that I've really been thinking about other people so much lately. For example....a week and half ago our friend Tim's dad passed away...the memorial service was held yesterday...definitely have been thinking about them and keeping them in my prayers. Today is my own dad's birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!). Today is also the birthday of my good friend, Scarlet's first daughter, Daycie, who is celebrating in Heaven (Happy Birthday Daycie!). And I just recently learned that our friend Todd just got married in London (Congratulations Todd and Rebecca!) I think of friends of mine that I don't live near anymore, whether they have moved, or I have...or those I've lost touch with, or partial touch with. Last year, so many relationships I've been in were revamped with the amazing birth of Brielle. I thank God for that! and for His giving me new relationships as a result of her birth too. The funny thing is that on the way to AR I began praying for all of these people I think of, and I also prayed for myself, that God would give me rest on every side, and that He would enlarge my territory...the prayer of Jabez, right? Well...on the way home, I had indescribable peace about my life, my mission, my ministry, my purpose. Like everything just fell right into place the way God has planned it all along. It may be significant that it would come at Brielle's one year celebration milestone, or it may be that God was always prepared to answer if I'd only just have prayed about it. I didn't ask for specifics...I am just putting my faith in His plans...and He has given me a great amount of peace and comfort and purpose. For this and for everything I Praise Him!!!!