Friday, December 28, 2012

Kinda thankful for sick kids

On the 16th the baby had a fever and one by one they've all fallen ill since then. I know I'm not alone with a house full of sickness. 
I'm kinda liking it. 
Now am I alone?
Let me explain.
#1: No stomach sickness to clean up after. Their diagnosis are run-of-the-mill and recovery is expected. At some point.
2. Between the fevers and the drugs my kids are setting family records for cuddle time, sofa-bound for hours and hours for over a week.
3. No cooking. Nobody's hungry. If hunger strikes, smoothies & crackers suffice. For those of us not sick, a hunk of Wegmans' Ultimate Chocolate cake or other holiday meal leftovers work just fine.
4. We're snowed in! Can you imagine if all 3 kids were perfectly healthy & not under the influence and we were trapped in here for this long together while school was out?! 
So I'm thankful...
1. All of the holidays went as planned. Our (brave) family filed in as expected and we had a grand ol' time! My sister-in-law even brought dinner.
2. Antibiotic co-pays are are measly $4. I'm pretty sure we've spent nearly was much on Dr's visits & drugs this month as we did on Christmas.
3. I adopted the sanity tray idea (seen at top) years ago. It corrals all the meds, thermometer, etc and can be taken up & down the stairs for over night care.
4. My husband has been home with me for most all of this. We've tackled quite a few little projects around here together. I just wish he never had to go to work, ever.
5. Feeling like I needed control over something, with kids needing no entertaining, I single-handedly took down Christmas decor on the 26th.
Okay, that may be the bad part: I took it all down before I realized I hadn't taken any photos of it. The wall of Christmas cards remains. If you don't spot your card, it's likely because my kids have taken to carrying them around. Though, that reminds me, I haven't been to the mailbox in days...

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

From me to you:
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The Sandy Hook tragedy has certainly shaken me to be committed to what really matters to me. I spent Christmas unplugged, at home with family. 
Is there anything better than your house full of those you love? 
I'm thankful to live closer after years of living far from relatives. 
Especially since our kids have had fevers & flu for a week now so any travel plans would have been canceled. 
Too sick to go to church on Christmas Eve, we listened to the audio version of this story by the light of the fireplace, a family tradition. I held my 6 year old in bed for at least an hour & a half when the light of the moon reflecting off the snowy ground tricked him woke him up far too early on Christmas morning. Gifts were opened in a flash, especially since we went without the fluff this year.
He later told me this was "like the best of all Christmases ever" which secured our more modest approach will be repeated. We snuck out after kids were tucked in bed to see Les Miserables! Wow! Go!
Thank you for reading this blog.
I know there are so many other interesting ways to distract yourself online so I appreciate you choosing detailgalblog. 
I've been encouraged by the #s of you this year and hope to hear more from you in 2013.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

I couldn't send my 1st grader to school today

I became a flight attendant after the horror of 9/11. I flew for United Airlines, while people were still too afraid to board one of their planes. Because I believe in God, all-powerful and He ensures protection. 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” Psalm 91:14

Earlier in that same portion of scripture David reinforces: 
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge”, and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways...””

My heart is devoted to this God, who holds the universe in His hands. He is faithful, and He has proven faithful to me my whole life. 

Yet,I couldn’t send my 1st grader to school today. I just couldn’t.
Knowing He could have commanded His angels to protect those innocent children when their classroom was attacked, and He didn’t kept me from sending my boy to school today. I realize bad things have happened to good people for ages. Sin entered the world and this side of Heaven is imperfect, unjust. Still...

I want God’s protection to mean that my child will not be brutally murdered while coloring at his desk, not that He will spend eternity safely in Heaven, with Jesus.

As I explained the tragic events at Sandy Hook to my 6 year old, I only briefly touched on the bad guy that got into the school & killed workers &kids. I focused on the wonder of spending Christmas with Jesus, in a place where they will never again feel pain or disappointment and we talked of rooms with endless glue & glitter & not having to ask permission to use any of it!

My heart was torn, still. I wouldn’t be comforted by that idea if my baby’s body had been lying dead in that classroom, inaccessible to me because it was a crime scene. I want to spend Christmas with all three of my children here with me, where they belong. I made myself sick imagining those kids. Their cries. Their fear. Did they die instantly or writhe, alone in pain? And their parents...arriving at the school in frantic search...

Watching this tragedy unfold in the news, my response was to insulate my family from harm. I considered home-schooling, questioned summer camps, neighborhood play, & sleepovers.

Almost immediately I could hear God speaking to my heart:
Be a light. Be the good. “Stick your neck out” if you see someone in need, overwhelmed, or living recklessly. Inspire people to choose God’s grace and to follow His laws that protect us from our destructive human nature. Get in that school! Don’t retreat
Don't isolate your family in your house or with friends of like-minded values. Make a difference. Make a change. That's why you're here on earth. 
How did Jesus spend his time on earth? "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" He said. 
Invest your time &your skills to this end.

So that’s my plan.
Well, once I can get the nerve to send my child back to school. 

And about reconciling my belief in an all-powerful, omni-present God allowing such harm: well I suppose that ranks up with understanding why God, creator of humans, chose to give them a free will, with which they can choose to reject Him and choose evil. I don't think I'll ever understand. 
My security in God's protection is still quite shaken.
I liked it better when I firmly rested in "no harm coming near my tent".

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

when holidays are tough

My friend's little boy lost his battle with cancer a few years back. I spoke with her shortly after and have never forgotten what she said to me about being alive without him.
"I've been going to the gym...because I can now. I just feel like shouting 'my baby boy is dead!' in the middle of the class."

Her words remain with me as I rub shoulders with strangers, some inconsiderate, aloof. This could be their day.  This could be their "trying to move on after life as I knew it is gone forever" day.

The holidays can be especially hard on people, as you can imagine.  
Thanksgiving was tough for me this year.
Finally close enough to gather with extended family in just a couple of hours, I just wanted to stay home. Not because of a death, but brokenness in my family. My parents are divorced. I'm not sure if I've shared that with you before.
It's complicated. Of course. 

And now, being married myself, with kids, its affects are far-reaching.
I've judged. I've raged. I've grieved. I've feared. I've cried. I've confronted. I've consoled. I've prayed.
I've resolved.
People change.
Families evolve.
Time heals.
I still need time. Certainly.

I've found one way to get my mind off myself has always been to serve others in need.

People are rushed, stressed, and may be struggling this season and I'm making a point to share a smile. It's simple and free.
Passersby in the parking lot, down the aisles, at the stop light are getting a great, big smile from me. My Southern readers are likely puzzled, but up here in the Northeast it isn't an expected exchange. I've gotten a few "you're crazy, girl" looks in return, but most people seem to appreciate the gesture. 

I've also reserved $ bills in my pocketbook to do what my friend, Lori did so thoughtfully: the gift of drive-thru coffee on the way home from a mom who's been there. (Like often)

I am sorry if this holiday season is tough for you. If you've lost someone you've loved, a job, your health, or whatever may trouble you, I hope something merry & bright makes its way to you. Something like the little girl with the silly grin in my attempt at a Christmas card photo above.

"...'til He appeared and the soul felt its worth. 
the thrill of hope. the weary world rejoices. 
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
...oh night Divine. oh night when Christ was born."

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Friday, December 7, 2012

less is more. real is better.

I finally pressed "submit order" on our family Christmas cards.
There was a point, after failed attempt after failed attempt to nail an impressive shot, that I considered taking shots of just our feet in the snow or the more compliant dog.
We won't be mistaken for paid Christmas card models after all. In the end, I captured my kids being my kids. 
They're best at that. 
I'm better off embracing it.

The White House Christmas card features their dog, Bo. But not because the Obamas aren't picture perfect, of course. Read the story behind the painting here (the artist made the snow using a toothbrush!) It's beautiful! 

I'm nearly done Christmas shopping. Most of it has been delivered. Some of it has been wrapped. My mom is taking our kids next weekend so I have high hopes of wrapping it all.
We're taking a modest approach to our kids' Christmas gifts this year. It's shaping up to be around 4 gifts each. I know! But listen to why:
#1, there truly isn't one thing that they need
#2, our hope is to make the few gifts meaningful and played with rather than tossed aside in the superfluous flow. 
I'm not going to lie: it's been hard for me to resist buying just for the sake of that magical glimpse at presents pouring out from under the tree on Christmas morning. Dan keeps me focused on how memorable it will be to spend the day playing with the couple of things we know our kids will be thrilled to unwrap.

We are not drawing any relations between the fact that Jesus got 3 gifts from the Wise Men because we do not want them to attach getting less with Jesus. "Well I only get 3 gifts, albeit special, because Jesus only got 3." is where I imagine my child going in his mind. And Jesus is the reason we have abundance, not less.

I've read/heard a few bloggers doing 4 gifts; something you want, you need, to wear, to read. Clever. Maybe when they're a bit older because we decided that takes away some of the mystery in the anticipation. And anticipation & wonder are major for me. Plus, Dan regards practical gifts pretty lame: socks, underwear, boots, etc. don't count. (Yikes! Those are my go-to stocking stuffers)

We know what impacts them most is having our time & attention, playing with them all day in our pajamas.
I desperately want to raise grateful, thoughtful kids.
The spirit of giving has already won over getting most days around here, where my oldest 2 have been coming up with idea after idea to give each other & the people in their lives. Hooray!

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