Glacier National Park 2010

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Perfect Christmas

Christmas Day celebrations have come and gone.  There were happy moments and the prerequisite "family dramas" to round out the day.  This year we had the added element of severe weather. And by severe I mean tornado warning sirens going off at least six times between 3:30 and 7:30.....we were keeping a careful eye on the television weather reports and saw that a massive wedge shaped tornado had touched down in the Mobile neighborhood where my best friend lives. After several frantic phone calls and texts, she finally got a text through letting us know they were safe.

My daughter and I had a long conversation about Christmas celebrations.  I think there lies within a lot of women.....wives, mothers, girlfriends, etc. this deep seated need to make Christmas 'perfect,' the stuff of dreams and fantasies fueled by the constant influx of Hollywood films....."Miracle on 34th Street," both versions, "Its a Wonderful Life," "White Christmas," "Christmas in Connecticut," and I could go on and one. It was true for me for more years than I care to remember.....and I never accomplished or reached perfection. So I've quit trying....and I just take joy in whatever comes.

Because I've learned that I cannot 'create' happiness for anyone but myself......I'm willing to share my happiness with those around me, but their own happiness is their responsibility. 

And as for the "perfect Christmas," it doesn't exist....never has. Even the first Christmas wasn't perfect.....Mary and Joseph reached Bethlehem and found it full of travelers much like themselves. As a result, there were no vacancies at any inn.....then Mary went into labor somewhat unexpectedly I'm sure.  An innkeeper took pity and led them to a stable in the side of a hill....and as any woman who has given birth will tell you....a barn full of noisy animals is not an ideal place to give birth.

But thankfully, from those less than ideal circumstances came the birth of God's Son, His perfect gift to us in the form of an innocent maybe that Christmas was perfect after all.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Christmas Eve, 50 degrees, cloudy with a chance of rain.......thanks to Pandora radio, Christmas music softens the quiet so that it feels more comforting than lonely. Having that first perfect cup of coffee and just thinking.

Looking around I note the chores I need to accomplish before everything is "ready for Christmas." There are still a few piles of clutter here and there and I definitely need to vacuum! And of course there are a few things to bake......nothing new or fancy this year.....just tried and true favorites.....Pecan Chocolate chip Pie, Blond Brownies, Wedding cookies, and Dark Chocolate brownies with Walnuts.  You see, the Christmas gathering is at my house tomorrow.

My three children, Michael aka Bubby, Melissa aka Sister and Lewie plus my sister and her two grandchildren and my daughter's fella, who is also named Michael, will all be gathered together. Thank goodness my son has been called Bubby since Melissa learned to talk! My apartment is going to be bursting at the seams on Christmas Day.  I'm glad.

As I ran my errands yesterday I was greeted with "are you ready for Christmas?" by several people.....people I didn't even know! It is a common refrain.....'are you ready for Christmas?' I'm guessing I was really being asked if all my gifted had been purchased, wrapped, and placed beneath the tree.....had all the food been purchased and readied for the feast?.....but this year it struck me differently.

Are you ready for Christmas? Are you ready to open your heart to that small baby whose birth brought light, joy and the hope of peace into the chaos of our world? Are you ready to take that joy and peace into your own life and carry it forward despite all the hate and fear and desperation which surrounds us?  Become a blessing in your own corner of the world.....those who are blessed will then bless others and on and a blessing and change the world.  That is my challenge to you.....and to myself.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Lessons from Sandy Hook

I've been sitting and watching all the news clips, reading the posts on FB, and weeping for all the lives lost at Sandy Hook School.  When I hear the diatribe from both sides of the gun control issue I am angered that they use this tragedy to espouse their views. This tragedy should teach us so much more.

For one thing, the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook School are representative of teachers and staff at schools all over the world.  When students enter the doors of schools, they have individuals waiting for them who take their responsibility to these children is not just a "job."  Children, yours and mine, are loved and cherished and protected with every ounce of a teacher's being. 

Yes, there are standards which must be taught.....and teachers work hard to see that 'standards' are met.......but along with that, they teach our children about responsibility, citizenship, honor, and as was made so evident in Sandy Hook, they teach our children about courage. And they do so by example.

So instead of focusing on an issue no one will ever agree on......let us focus on those things we can agree on.  Beautiful, innocent children were sacrificed by a mad man for reasons we will never really know or understand.  Teachers gave their lives to try and protect those children. So I say, let us try harder to remember to show our love to our children before we do anything else.......and let us remember also that your child's teacher may be called upon, Heaven forbid, to protect your child with their own life...and would do so willingly because though you may not understand why....we teachers love your children and want the very best for them.

So I sit here and weep....but each tear is a prayer for those we lost, a prayer for each child I come in contact with every day at work, a prayer that goodness will prevail over evil......and a hope that I will never forget to be an example of that goodness.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blogger's Block

It has been a while.....seems I've suffered from "blogger's block." Yes, I made that up.....just think "writer's block." There's been a whole lot of pain going on and quite frankly I wasn't in the mood to talk or write about any of it.

Just to catch you up......had a lovely Thanksgiving celebration with family at my parent's house. My traditional Sweet Potato Pie was a big hit with my Daddy and he even shared a small sliver with me! Was I honored or what? And I have to say it was pretty yummy!

Now it is December.....and the Christmas season is fast approaching.  It used to bring with it stress and anxiety and more feelings of inadequacy to my life.  There never seemed to be enough time nor money to make sure every one had THE perfect Christmas.....because of course I felt that was all my responsibility.  Let me say for the record....I have relinquished that responsibility. 

For me Christmas is not about perfection.....nor is it about gift exchanges.....nor being invited to Christmas parties......nor making tons of perfect Christmas goodies.  It is about the little enjoying a nice cup of ginger spice tea before bedtime.....humming snippets of Christmas carols as I fold laundry.....unpacking my collection of Santa face mugs and lining them up on the counter.  Each one brought memories of the fun MoMe and I had experienced as we found these treasures in junk stores and Goodwill stores throughout the southeast.

This year instead of a mad flurry of trying to decorate my apartment and patio and tree all in one day I'm savoring each step.  For now, my Santa face mugs smile at me as I contemplate what bit of decorating comes next.....and if I can figure out how to share photos of them on the blog, I will. I want to enjoy every moment of every day.

Hopefully, the "blogger's block" I've suffered has passed......because I do so enjoy blogging and sharing the every day ordinary life I live.......I am so blessed.