Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas reflection

It's December 26th.  We're all still here (as in the Mayan apocalypse didn't happen).

It's been just the four of us this Christmas at our house - and we like it.  It is quiet and we are on our own schedules.  Mainly we like that we are not travelling so there will be a small group coming to see us on Friday.  It's not that we don't like visiting with family, but lately we have been the ones making the rounds so this year we decided not to do that.

This has been a strange Christmas for me.  I didn't do any last minute shopping - it was all bought and wrapped early enough that I didn't feel stressed. But... this has been a season of spiritual dryness for me.  I'm not sure how long I've been in this season but it has been a while.  "Joy to the World" we sing, and I feel joy because the Lord has come, not because I feel joyful.  Now let's not confuse joy with happiness.  I am happy.  My children are healthy, my marriage is wonderful, I have a great job - I am happy.

My desert times are always times of teaching to me. The Lord is trying to get my attention and I am looking and listening but not hearing - yet.  In His time, I will learn what the lesson is.  So in the desert, the joy is sparse, much like water.  The joy is my oasis.  So in these day at home, with our visitors, I will go to the oasis of joy and quench my thirst.  I will remember when joy was plentiful and overflowing and know that I can have it once again.

So, you may ask... why?  Why are you dried out?  That, dear reader, is complicated, and not what I think I want to delve into today.  During a previous time of a desert wandering, I had a verse that was the first thing I saw when I turned on my phone, from the book of Nehemiah:  "The joy of the Lord is your strength."

For today, that is enough.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Breakfast in the hotel

Hotel breakfast rooms generate great people watching.

There is the older couple leisurely enjoying their breakfast.  She is perfectly dressed and accessorized.  He is doting on her, filling her coffee when it gets cold.  There is the family who obviously thinks this is their kitchen and comes down in their pajamas, usually 5 minutes before breakfast closes.  All children are fascinated with the pancake machine, but still, there are those who are impatient with it and expect it to spit out a fully cooked pancake immediately, then wonder why they get multiple pancakes.  (Pushed the button multiple times).

And then there's me.  I was hoping for a comfy chair in the corner, but there are only dining chairs and tables, so I hang out in the corner watching people and waiting for the family.  They know I need 30 minutes alone in the mornings.  It's starting to get crowded and noisy, so I'm going to take my coffee and a paper and head to the room.

Oh and Thanksgiving was good with the family.  The food was great.  The UNO game was fun and I rolled into bed with a food coma. :)

Best part? I do not do Black Friday shopping!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Are you grateful?

I am.

The establishment of the Thanksgiving holiday gave way to school days of school children dressing up like pilgrims and Indians.  I always wanted to be a pilgrim but somehow I always was an Indian.  I think the Indian costume was easier for my mother.

Truth is:  I'm a pilgrim.  My ancestors were pilgrims. They didn't come on the Mayflower, but did come to the colony soon after.  They lived in an uncharted, unmapped land and learned to survive.  Could we do that if we had to?  Do we Americans have those survival skills?  This is a topic that my husband and children have talked about before and we think we can.  We know how to prepare unprocessed food (i.e. not out of a can or microwaved) and I can cook pretty well over fire.

My ancestors made a home for themselves in this wild land, defended her freedom, and respected her laws.  They credited God with providing this home for them.  And that is what Thanksgiving is about.  I care about my history, the people who had something to do with who I am today (and yes,  I do believe my English, Scottish, and German ancestors who began settling in America in 1609 had something to do with me), and my country.

All you have to do is watch the news and see the conditions under which other countries live.  We have freedoms that they cannot even fathom. Underappreciated.  Taken for granted.  Sometimes it makes me sick to realize many in my country do not understand how wonderful it is here.  I have friends who are not native to the United States.  They, better than I, understand this.  They tell me that on a frequent basis.

This country is not perfect - far from it.  But it is the "land of the free and the home of the brave."  Isn't it time we remembered why we are giving thanks?  So to the Wallers, Kleckleys, Huffmans, Sims, McGlons and many others in my family tree:  Thank you for coming to this land to live and worship as you please.  Thank you for defending these freedoms so that I can live in freedom.

God Bless America.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Mis-mash of thoughts

I've had an interesting several weeks.  Busy with teaching school and busy with taking classes.  And trying to find one of the 5 copies of my college transcripts which I THOUGHT I knew where they were but hopefully I don't actually need them.

I said good-bye to a couple of people.  One who lived a long time and lived very fully and one who didn't live a long time and crammed every bit of living into her almost 19 years.  They are both models to me.  I hope that they have had a chance to meet each other in Heaven this week.  I hope they met my Aunt Ellen who had some very crooked fingers due to breaking them playing softball in her youth.  But, of course, those fingers have been healed - it is Heaven, of course.  I really miss her trying to point at me with those fingers.  Maybe they met the two best uncles in the universe!!  Billy and Bob (no, they weren't brothers but they loved each other like they were).  Uncle Billy would set me on his lap and tell me I was beautiful.  Uncle Bob fixed my car more times than I could count and taught me about brake lines and transmission fluid...  not that I could tell you about that now.

I said hello last week to the promise of new life in my friend's baby.  Such a beautiful baby and she hardly cried and let me hold her for a long time.  So nice to relax holding an infant.

I had a birthday.  Birthday's don't bother me very much as I get older.  Plus, I'm typing this on my new laptop.  It is sleek and shiny like a new sportscar (maybe in a few years that will be my birthday "surprise").

One of the biggest events this week is that my DS is now an Eagle Scout.  It was a long process of merit badges, Scoutmaster conferences, and leading a project - a huge project, I might add - and it became official on Saturday.  Now we wait for the badge to arrive and then get to plan the ceremony.

My whole family is under one roof... of course I'm the only one up.  We had a power outage today and I was wondering how I would get my coffee.  Well boiling water, coffee, a filter, and a measuring cup later, I made some pretty decent coffee, which finished brewing right at the time the power came back on :)  And I sometimes wondered why I had a thermal carafe... now I know. It's to hold my freshly brewed coffee and keep it warm after the power comes back on.

Thanksgiving is my job this year.  My sister has to work so she'll buy beverages and dessert.  And I'll make dinner in my house and transport it to her house.  My grandmother made the absolute best cornbread dressing in the world, and we didn't have it last year, and I missed it so much. My daughter and I said "never again" and so today we will make the cornbread for the dressing.  It is actually a recipe my great-grandmother passed down to her daughter-in-law (my grandmother) and my cousin and I are in possession of the recipe.  Don't tell her... but I make it better than she does.

Over the next few days, I will get to see a lot of people I love.  We don't always agree - and that is okay - but we are bound by blood and love.  We usually only see the best in each other, and in a family, I supposed that is how that it should be.  We are a mis-mash of personalities, lifestyles, and beliefs.  A mis-mash - just like my thoughts today.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Music for my heart

I have recently taught a couple of lessons in Sunday School about the Psalms.  It is perfect for me to teach - the Psalms are the songs of faith.  Praise, happiness, gratitude, anger, sorrow, remorse, regret.  Prayers from a desperately lost people to the God who saves, loves, protects them.  They are pure.  The emotion is raw.  As a singer of hymns, I love the Bible's hymn book.  When I read them, I hear the melodies that I know have been for them.  Sometimes it is classical music - Handle, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart.  Sometimes it is contemporary.  The type of music doesn't matter - it is the message which resonates for me.

My mother said that I sang before I talked.  She wrote in my baby book that I sang the same little song all day long.  I didn't know words but the melody was always the same.  I wonder what it sounded like.

Before I was 6 years old, at the beginning of my first grade year, she said I came to her in tears one day wanting to know when my piano lessons would start.  She said they would start right now.  And so it began.  Until the end of my sixth grade year, I studied under her tutelage at that piano and forced my little hands to do what only larger hands could do.  I still have little hands and have learned in the last 39 years (that's how long I have been playing the piano) to adapt.  Having your mother as a piano teacher is not easy - she was harder and harsher on me than her other students.

When we moved after my 6th grade year, the formal lessons stopped but I continued playing for myself and for her, playing for children's choirs and church, continuing to learn from her expertise.  Playing is harder now because I am desperately out of practice, but I love the sound I can made from my hands.  My mom and I had a tumultuous relationship, but of the things I inherited from her, I'm glad music was one of those.  It is the center of my soul, the place where God speaks to my heart.  It is where the holy Spirit sends His comfort and joy and peace.

It is where I find rest.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Quiet after the storm

My title here is a little deceiving... I like storms.  I like the lightening and the thunder (although it scares the bejeebers out of our dog Luna).  I like the activity.

This weekend has been one big flurry of activity.  I watched some really great kids graduate from high school, sitting with some really great co-workers.  Really, you should be as fortunate as I am to love a job so much.  And I really, really do.  My DD came home from a trip with her BFF's.  We cooked out and made ice cream.  We tried to eat outside last night but got rained on.  The guys worked in the yard, we ALL did some much needed spring cleaning, we watched some episodes of SNL (the first season), and had a family meeting.  This was all yesterday.  Part of the family meeting was satisfying my DS's merit badge for Boy Scouts, one he needs to earn his Eagle badge - which we are well on our way with.  I say "our" because the parents are highly involved with this process."  One thing we had to do was pick a project to complete as a family.  I want to redecorate and repurpose a room in the house but the guys were soooo not interested in that.  So I was reading the little guide book and it suggested teaching the family how to preserve food through canning and freezing.  I have done that a good bit before I started to work full-time and the kids always like the results (pear preserves - yum) so they decided we would do that as a family project.  It should be interesting.

So today is the quiet.  DH has gone to the office, DD and DS have gone to the movies and to run some errands, and I get to enjoy my house and the quiet-ness.  I will probably finish up another step of the spring cleaning, but I am also getting to read a book and will watch some food network before everyone gets home.  I will also sit down at the piano and see if I can find any music in my fingers and work on regaining some skill and dexterity.

I do love these days.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Mine are invisible as they are on my heart
Mostly I forget
But then something happens, someone shares their scars
And I remember

I would rather forget
But I know that when I let mine be shown
I can show how much I have healed over time
(a long, long time)

But they will always be with me
They will always be there to remind me
That I need to forgive those who hurt me
So that I can be forgiven

Under the scars
It still hurts the child within
And the woman on the outside smiles and says
I'm okay

His scars brought me salvation and healing
Maybe mine can help someone, too

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A year's perspective and dreams

I am having a quiet morning and now have some time to think on the last year.
My DH has just left to go pick up most of our DD's belongings at her college and she waits to take her last final exam of her freshman year of college.  She is quite a remarkable young lady.  You can read her blog here.

This time last year we were planning her graduation party, packing for the senior trip to Colorado (I got to go - wonderful), and I had a lot on my plate.  Two months later, I was at the doctor for my yearly thyroid check (I hate my thyroid but love my medication) and the NP pointed out my weight gain for the year.  YIKES!  I had previously lost 51 pounds but had managed to gain back all but 12 of that two years.  How's them numbers for you?  So I went back on Weight Watchers with a new attitude.  I have dreams, you know, and being 80 pounds overweight was not in those dreams. I now have 32 pounds to get to my initial goal.

  • I dream of playing with my grandchildren someday.
  • I dream of being able to run a 5K (but really?  I hate exercise so this could be a stretch)
  • I want to get more education - got to get my teaching certificate current and some other stuff.  Not sure  how far I want to take it.
  • I want to travel to the lands of my ancestors - Germany, Holland, Scotland, England, Alabama (haha... this would be funny if it weren't true - I just want to find all the cemeteries and take pictures in Alabama).
  • I want to learn to make gourmet cupcakes. I am actually going to play with this over the summer.  It seems inconsistent with someone trying to lose weight but I'm going to give most of them away.
  • I dream of my knees not crunching when I walk... but turns out this is a family genetic problem but just isn't helped by my weight.  They have improved substantially in the last several months.
  • I dream of taking a fantasy trip to Greece and Italy with my daughter and maybe stopping in Paris, too.
  • I dream of all of my family members having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
So maybe that wasn't so much of a year's retrospective as it was a bucket list.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quiet Sunday afternoon

After a really busy weekend, including open house at the school where I teach, I get a moment of quiet as my dear husband takes a break.  He spent the weekend camping with the Boy Scout and needs to decompress.  I totally get that need.

I met some really great people and then some people who... well...  I'm sure they are great, too, but have unrealistic expectations as far as the education of their child goes.  I hope they find a place to belong - really I do.

We have begun the season of Lent - a time when I usually become very introspective and almost melancholy.  My heart breaks over and over because of the love God has shown to me - to the extent that His own Son died to show me how much he loves me.  No one else is capable of such a love.  No one.

I wonder sometimes if I am fulfilling the purpose that God has for me - am I ignoring something?  Am I missing the obvious?  Is there more I need to do?  So, I wait and wonder.  There was a time when I was overly busy doing the work of the church.  And now, it seems I'm not overly busy and I wonder - is there a reason for that?  So I pray for God to show me what it is He wants from me... and I wait for the answer.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The prodigal blogger returns?

Well, I always make the promise that I'll write once a month.  Then one month turns into more than one...

Some changes have happened since I last wrote:  but I guess the biggest one is that I am back on Weight Watchers.  It is a plan that works for me and I don't feel deprived.  And I'm losing.  Been back on it for 25 weeks and averaging 1.1 pound per week.  That's safe and it's doable and that's 26.4 pounds that I do not have to have again.  Actually the first time I did WW back in 2008 I was 12 pounds heavier at the start:  so I am 38.4 pounds lighter than I was in August 2008.  I'm looking at less than 40 pounds to go but I'll make that call when I get there.

I'm also thinking about going back to school for another graduate degree - I have my reasons and I'm not quite ready to share them yet, but if I'm going to do it, I have to make my decision pretty soon.

So - those are both a matter of personal prayer requests for me.  I'll try (not promising) to be more regular here for my one reader.  I know she has been wringing her hands with worry over my absence.  haha