Saturday, December 23, 2006

Two Days Left 'til Christmas

Yesterday, dear husband & I ventured out into the rush of Christmas shoppers. Shopping this close to Christmas invigorates him; shopping this close to Christmas tips my scale of holiday cheer into oblivion. Plain and simple - it blows my overblown sense of control.

If I was truly organized, why am I out here with the Christmas crazies shopping this close to Christmas? Why am I wondering down the aisles of Books & Co with the great ideas that just formed? Where is that Pooh book I suddenly envision as THE perfect gift for several family members? Where were these ideas weeks ago?!?!?!? Why can't I enjoy the thrill of the hunt at the last minute?!?!?

I do know the answers - I'm just not willing to answer them publicly.

I do know this. Every year I sit down and write a long list of resolutions. They look great on paper. They appear to be achieveable. The number of them are usually under a hundred. None of them involve riding a camel across the Saraha. Inevitably, the list comes to surface at the end of the year - and if I'm lucky, I've managed to complete two of them. Probably because I knew when I wrote those two, they were easy enough to do in less than 24 hours. Organizationally, I excel at short-term "things". It's just those long-term goals and self-expectations I can't seem to conquer. And I still think about what I'd like to do when I grow up.

So here it is, the 23rd of December. I still have to go out today with the Christmas crazies for two more presents - maybe three. I still have to wrap what I've already bought. I still have to address the special Christmas cards I bought - resolution #5 written in Jan 06 (make every Christmas card) blown out of the water - and I have yet to make one batch of my dad's famous sugar cookie recipe.

Resolution #1 for 2007: There will be no more resolutions. When I feel like I'm going to tip the scale to the negativity side, I'll take my own advice and write down every blessing I've been given.

I think I like that.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Almost Here

Christmas is just around the corner - and I'm still running behind.

I managed to pick up some sort of bug which started just this past Monday evening. I hosted a small office party on Tuesday - got through that, and yesterday morning woke up to some very unpleasant stomach virus symptoms. I took off yesterday from work - and slept most of the day.

Today I feel human - and almost have that Christmas spirit, late as it is. Yes, still running behind but at least I feel like catching up with it.

Monday I had played Mrs Claus for a special needs class in an elementary school. I'll have to do a post on that later. If you're ever feeling really down - visit a special needs class. It will either do one of two things - shake you up enough so that you'll never want to visit again or you'll count your blessings feverently and want to do something. I don't think anyone can just walk away without feeling something.

I'm back to counting my blessings.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Moving In

Yesterday, sis & I drove to daughter's and son-in-law's (aka THE KIDS) new home and helped unpack a few boxes. The result: almost useable kitchen, clothes hung up granddaughter's walk in closet (she's a year old and has a walk-in closet. I foresee trouble here....), helped with a few loads of laundry and learned something very valuable.

When one wants to feel needed, just ask them for help. I don't believe there is a better feeling in the world than knowing you're needed.

The kids' home is beautifully located in a safe neighborhood. Lots of space and already I saw touches that say "this is our home". It was a joy being part of the 'moving in' process. Dear husband hasn't seen the home yet. I'm hoping we can drive up on Christmas Eve if the weather holds.

Now both our children own homes - and what a nice feeling that is. While we enjoy apartment living now, we raised both of them in a lovely 4 bedroom home with a nice large back & side yard. Having one's own home provides the feeling of 'this is mine' and establishing roots - even if it's for a couple of years before moving on.

Looking back, I know there's been a change in how I view what I call "home". While we were raising our two children, we owned our home and while it was nicely furnished, I don't recall the excitement of finding a piece of furniture or hanging up a picture on the wall that would add that personal touch. Yes, there were pictures on the wall - even a 'family wall' that I enjoyed looking at - and humorous stories of buying furniture (dear husband leans towards early victorian while I head straight to the modern - it took months to buy a new sofa), there wasn't that feeling of giving that personal touch to the home. Perhaps it was working full time - going to school in the evenings - getting the kids to soccer, basketball or dance.... Perhaps my memory is faulty and I did have that personal touch and it was there without my awareness.

At any rate, yesterday was a revelation. Seeing the nice touches son #2 was adding to his home brought a realization that even living in an apartment one can be pleased with creating those personal touches that make it a home.

As I write, I've been watching the sun rise. What a glorious way to reflect, watch this part of the city slowly come into the light - and being able to thank God for His blessings. We are truly blessed.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Family Blessings

Today I get to spend time with our daughter & granddaughter. Recently, daughter & son-in-law bought a home - their first. We weren't able to help with the actual move from leased townhouse to house so today sis & I will drive the 90 minutes or so and help organize the new home.

Sunday I'll meet son at a local YMCA - he'll play basketball (church league) and I'll watch grandson. Mom is working - so I get the honor of entertaining the "little man", as dubbed by son.

Family blessings, you bet. Dear husband will be directing a chess tournament today & tomorrow so the blessings extend solely to me. This bothers me a great deal.

The hardest part of growing your own family is the reality that someday they will grow their family and family events now become their own family events. Getting together for birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas present more and more challenges. In some families, those challenges serve as an excuse and family celebrations no longer occur. It's difficult not to take up the reins & become the overbearing Matriarch. So instead I step back and pray for the best. And I am not comfortable with this. It's in our nature as MOMS to want to FIX things - which is not to say that DADS do not. Dads do want to fix things - but when it's not possible, they face reality & hire a carpenter or plumber and things get fixed. Moms could care less about fixing physical objects - we operate in the emotion mode, pure & simple. Why we women live longer than men is beyond me.

So I have to remember - dear husband & I have each other and that's a forever thing. We raised a beautiful daughter and son who are devoted to their spouse and child. God has blessed us beyond comprehension and I am learning to count that blessing as His major blessing for us.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gentle Reminders If You Listen...

Once again, I got a nudge from the Holy Spirit.

It was just this morning that I wrote about the elusive Christmas blues. While not overwhelming, it stuck there for awhile - despite listing my many blessings.

I left for work this morning and immediately after going out the front lobby (we live in a terrific high rise apartment building - yes, we are proudly 'cave dwellers' as one of my coworkers pointed out), I was hit with tiny ice crystals. Yes, sigh, winter is here. As most cave dwellers do not have the luxury of an attached (or detached) garage, I had this feeling the car would require a light scraping of the ice off the all window surfaces. But not so! The windows, albeit frigid cold, were clear as could be. Terrific! I drive to work, snow flurries everywhere but not a slick spot to be found anywhere. Within an hour of settling down to work, reports of car accidents are coming in by the minute - as many as ten cars involved. Ah - but this is not the gentle reminder of which I titled this post.

About a year ago, I signed up for a wonderful daily email called "Today's Seed". It takes all of two minutes to read and it just sets the tone for the rest of my day. Granted, sometimes it's read and nothing really resonates - but still, it does give me a sense of peace. Today was the day of the gentle nudge - the gentle reminder. The email read as follows:

LORD, in this time of the year when so many people are concerned about so many details, family visits, and holiday preparations, help me shut out the distractions, filter out things that are not really important, and do what is most important of all. I want to listen to You and spend quality time with You. Thank You for Your patience and Your forgiveness for the times I have neglected You because I couldn't manage those details. I want this year to be different. Help me make it so.

Therein was the time spent with God has been constantly cut short, put to the side - and I simply viewed it as the Christmas blues.

God, I got the picture, loud and clear. Thank you, Holy Spirit. It's not about the DAY, it's not about the presents (that was hard to write), it's not about gathering the family together... it's all about the relationship. Without the relationship with God, the world is a little grayer - the discontent takes over - the little annoyances become major problems.

Many times we need those gentle nudges, those gentle reminders to get with the program. Take the time to talk to God - or rant and rave to Him. He's heard it all and still loves us unconditionally. And after talking - listen. You'll hear from Him - it's a guarantee.


Christmas Blues?

It's 4:55am on a Thursday morning. 15 degrees outside - and while the calender hasn't announced winter yet, I know it's out there. Lurking and just waiting to catch you unawares.
Darling husband is away on a business trip to San Diego and has been there since this past Monday. Winter doesn't touch San Diego, much to the delight of San Diego residents.

Christmas is 17 days away. I am most pleased to say that with the exception of a two particular items, I am finished with shopping. Only family reads these posts (and then I wonder if I'm fooling myself), so I won't go any further with Christmas details. However, I did go on the great quest for the TREE yesterday after physical therapy (which was my last session - wrist is doing fine, by the way).

The tree was not to be found. It's a simple quest, really. Four feet high and prelit - and of course, green. I remember a time when one did not have to specify the color of the Christmas tree. I could have just as easily brought home a white one - or a red one - or a blue one. All four feet high and prelit. What I do not understand is why merchants stock white, red and blue Christmas trees when these colors are left standing on valuable floor room space year after year and the green trees are snapped up within days of placing them out for sale. Two minutes after Christmas day, these trees can be bought for pennies on the dollar - and then disappear within a day or so, only to be hauled out next year- or returned to the manufacturer. I seriously doubt they're purchased.

The Christmas blues have hit me for some reason. I've counted my blessings - and they are more than ever before....

Work is going very well
I spend time with my sister who is becoming a friend
I can talk to several coworkers at least on a surface level (!)
I have been steadily working on several quilt projects and enjoying it more and more
We moved from a one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom apartment (right next door - amazing!) and the difference in space is a huge blessing
I have made a wonderful friend via the internet
Our children are doing very well - our grandchildren are healthy (and they're the most intelligent children on the planet)
My husband loves me more & more every day (what's more - he verbalizes it daily) - and that feeling is returned

Yet - there's something that I can't quite capture that isn't completing the picture.

Perhaps it's the fact that Christmas is around the corner and this will be the second year we won't be having the children and grandchildren with us on that day. Yes, I know it's a day on the calender that says CHRISTMAS (thank God the calender makers haven't replaced it with the word HOLIDAY - but I see it coming) - but still, there's something to be said about having family gathered on that particular day.

So I will need to continue to listing those blessings - and know I'm not only loved by my husband of thirty-five years plus - but by Jesus. That in itself is far beyond what I deserve.