Merry Christmas! I hope you and your family are enjoying a nice Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, this year! Ours is healthy and we are thankful for that. We don't have much this year, as times have been tough for us, financially, so our gifts are few and the meal is simple. I also didn’t want my son to put any hooks or small parts of ornaments in his mouth, so I put up a tree with only white lights and a bow on top. I decorated the railing of the steps and laid out our three homemade stockings, etc. So, it’s that kind of Christmas for us this year. We realize that we are not alone, though: While many will have a marvelous day this year; others will have an awful day. Not everyone’s Christmas is the same. I wonder if some have never had a happy Christmas…ever.
While we are all looking for a happy feeling all throughout the season and on that special day, I want to remember everyone who is hurting this season, and let that be a reminder to me to seek to comfort all whom I come in contact with now and throughout the new year (and continually).
But now for my special post today, I’d like to turn my thoughts to Christmas, the celebration of when Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, came to the earth with a purpose to rescue sinners from a sure death! I’m so grateful, too, for all that He did and taught us before he fully completed that purpose (these stories are in the Holy Bible in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John if you are interested in reading them).
It is very fitting that a certain woman, Mary, comes to mind for me this year. She was the mother of Jesus. When she was pregnant with him, her cousin rejoiced and spoke prophetically as she said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." The Bible account (see the book of Luke) tells us that she became pregnant because God miraculously caused it to be so. No man impregnated her! Mary was privileged to carry God’s Son, which meant that she was the only human on the planet to be a biological parent to Jesus! As a mother, I know how great the love I have for my child, but I also know that my husband shares that great love for our child with me. But while Mary soon married a man that helped her take care of Jesus as he grew, Jesus really only biologically came from her! In the later part of the story, Jesus ends up dying a horrible death that he didn’t deserve. He was completely, completely perfect and innocent. It was an awful thing that Jesus was treated this way in the first place. But it was a beautiful thing that God’s love was demonstrated through that situation, and a problem was amended (you have to read the story if you haven’t yet…amazing!). But what strikes me as a mother, is that Mary had to stand there and watch her son go through this awful death, as a innocent man.
HOW THAT MUST HAVE HURT HER TERRIBLY!
Yes, she was blessed to carry the Son of God, but sometimes we forget that blessings are eternal --- they don’t actually mean that everything is comfy cozy in this world. That awful day became wonderful, because Jesus rescued many and gave them LIFE !
That is something to celebrate about!
Its okay that we have only a few gifts this Christmas, because Jesus is the only gift we actually need. That comforts me.
Have a blessed Christmas!
My Dog Ate My Homework.
You probably think that’s just an excuse. Where’s the homework, the teacher wants to know? And the classic answer? "My dog ate it."
I’d like to use that one, but I’m not a student these days, nor have I ever owned a dog. But if I had one, he or she would have a regular diet of paper.
I was thinking recently about a plaque I once read on my aunt’s kitchen wall. It read something like,
“Please excuse the mess --- The kids are making memories”.
My aunt and uncle now have grandchildren --- lots of them! They certainly know a thing or two about kids and how quickly they grow up!
It was almost two years ago that I was there, aware of the little ones going to and fro, as I looked forward to the birth of my own son. I enjoyed observing her daughter-in-laws interacting with their children. I was encouraged to think of my mommy days coming soon and wondering what that was really going to be like.
That day in my aunt’s home, she saw me reading the sign and she said, “I wish I had had that sign when my own children were little.” She knew that time with her children and allowing them to enjoy their own home was of great value, and a sign like this was a simple reminder, peace of mind, and permission to relax a little.
Today, I am enjoying motherhood real time! My own son is a toddler, whom I love dearly. Even now as I type, he is sitting next to me in his highchair dropping a cookie on the floor to join the crackers and toys he already dropped. I try to get my work done, but everything takes longer than the days when I was single and had no child. What is my conclusion? Totally worth it!
When I vacuum, sweep, and clean the floor, the time of that cleanliness is limited before it either needs to be done again, or I say, “Hmmm…I will try to get to that soon…or sometime.”
My baby ate my housework.
I’m just sayin’.
Recently, my mom and three of my sisters came for a visit. We had a good time together, and Mom basically spoiled me and my family rotten! That was fun!
We have a bird feeder on our porch. It’s a nice big globe designed to keep the squirrels out of the bird food, which belongs in the slender shaft in the middle of the feeder. This way, the birds should be able to go in and out of the globe and get to the food, but hopefully just the birds can get to it. At least, that’s the idea.
My mom saw our feeder hanging there, but there was no food in it (I must have had “good intentions” on getting to that project for over a year!). Mom is much better at getting a thing done. She’s the type that makes lists and checks things off. When she saw the feeder, she really liked it and didn’t know if we just had it around with no interest in it, or if we were going to use it.
“I like that feeder,” she said, “And I can buy it off of you if you don’t want it.”
We did want it, but really didn’t have the money in the present budget to fill it (times have been tough for us lately). So, Mom offered instead to buy us suet ingredients and fill it up for us! We were very excited about that. She and I went to the store, so she could purchase the following: peanut butter, shortening, and bird seed.
That evening, we left our baby boy with Mom and my little sisters while my husband and I went on a date. By the time we got back, the suet was made and the feeder was filled. All we had to do was to wait for the birds to come to it.
“They say it takes a week for the birds to find it,” Mom said.
The next day, the squirrels were going crazy! Two squirrels --- no, three! The week ahead ended up being a torture to the squirrels as they tried every which way to get at the suet, only to get little-to-none!
Finally, just as Mom suspected, little birds arrived the scene 6 or 7 days later.
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What a very nice gift for a grandmother to give! My little boy notices critters outside and now we can expect education and entertainment to come right to us from the comfort of home, and that without the use of a TV!
Sweet! What a “Tweet”!
Over three years ago, I met my love.
I was living with a nice family here in the State of Pennsylvania, having just recently moved from North Carolina. The family was always showing hospitality to all, to the point that they had rather large gatherings in their home each Sunday. This was nice for me. I was making new friends and getting homesick all at the same time, but that was par for the course.
One day, only 2 months or so after the move, I remember a handsome man, who was sitting at the picnic table, looking sad. I quickly learned that he was recently widowed, though he really wasn’t that old. My heart went out to him. This story was so familiar to me because my dad had passed away suddenly (and young) only a little more than four years before. I wasn’t one of those people who didn’t know how to handle another’s grief --- at least not this time --- because I had had my own, and especially because I was still aware that my mom was still going through it. So, though I had never lost a spouse, I felt close enough to someone who did, in a way that I was able to talk to and sympathize with this man.
Over the months that followed, I got to know him. His name: John. We became friends. I was a listening ear as he told me about his late wife. He was a friend that I’d introduce to family whenever they came to town. I’d tell him about my family. I’d talk about the swing dancing that I was doing. He’d share wise words with everyone when friends would get together to talk about God. I’d listen and learn. I really felt he was a great guy. All along, I had plans to set him up with someone I had in mind, only, of course, when there was enough time of grieving behind him. I found myself conversing with him often when we were at the same events, never realizing that I was setting him up with someone alright --- I was setting him up for me! I didn’t know. God was the one in the know all along.
Neither of us saw it coming.
And one day, he asked me if I’d like to go to dinner with him sometime.
We still didn’t see it coming.
But a few weeks or so later, we were hanging out more and more.
By mid June (that was one year after we met) we were “not dating”! That was what we told ourselves anyway! Looking back, yeah, we were totally dating.
By mid August, we were holding hands.
And by mid September? We were engaged.
On October 9th, we were married and kissed each other for the first time (a kiss on the forehead when dating didn't count...though I liked it!).
Four days later, I prayed, asking God for a miracle. I prayed that God would give us a baby in nine months. I asked for nine months specifically.
John had never had children, though he and his late wife did want them. He had told me when we were dating that the chances were that he wouldn’t be able to have children. That meant that the decision to marry him could mean no kids for me. But I did marry him. I accepted him with or without children, until death do us part.
And God saw fit to say, “Yes.” I am still amazed.
I’ll never forget that evening in November when I went into the bathroom to take a pregnancy test, and ended up calling to my new husband, “John, can you tell me what I’m looking at?” I wasn’t sure if it was so --- I needed him to look at the test too.
He looked at the test and then he looked at me and leaned with satisfaction against the door frame, “You’re pregnant,” he said.
That was a huge thing to us both. I think we will never take that moment for granted, nor the beautiful child that resulted. I am --- we are --- terribly grateful to God for giving us a child together. But that was not all.
The due date was just a few days after our 9 month anniversary! I thought that was an answer to prayer --- you know, close enough.
But on July 8th, my water broke early! I didn’t have the baby until the next day: July 9th --- exactly 9 months to-the-day of our wedding vows --- our miracle child was here! Praise the Lord!
Now moving forward in this story to today, John and I have been married for over two years. We have experienced a lot together already, both good and difficult. The good is really wonderful, and the difficult makes us grow. We get to help each other out. We get to be each others fans. We take care of each other, we love each other, forgive, serve, give, listen, share --- we do life together.
And I don’t know why fairy tales make wedding days look glorious, because I’d rather be married two years, rather than just one day. This where I now feel settled in, one with, loving a man I know much better, and been doing life with for awhile. I love this guy!
Everyone’s story is different. They should not be compared.
This is our story.
And I am thankful.
Just last month, I celebrated my birthday (and though I am not ashamed of my age, I won’t tell you how old I am, because I guess it’s no longer fashionable to tell).
So as I celebrated my [age unknown] birthday, I was graced with a visit from my mom and three of my sisters. It was really quite a treat, for many reasons. Among them is the fact that I now live very far from where I grew up, so that I no longer get to see my mom and siblings as often as I used to see them.
The night they arrived, Mom suggested we order pizza – her treat. This was really great, because my husband and I have had a tough year financially, so we simply don’t take such gift for granted! Well, when Mom and I went to order/pick up pizza, my sweet mother’s generosity revealed itself like crazy! We came home with two favorite pizzas: a supreme thick-crust meat pizza and a bacon chicken ranch pizza (my hubby's favorite), a calzone, wings, two large salads, garlic knots … am I missing anything? She figured we’d enjoy it tonight and then it would be there to eat for future meals! She was right! And it was fun.
Then the next afternoon, I had the privilege of sharing a part of Pennsylvania with her. I took her (from my place in the passenger seat) to a gift-shop-and-nursery that I like a lot and I thought she would like. I was right! And it was fun.
“Why don’t you choose something here as a birthday gift, Shawna?” Mom said. Mom already brought me gifts in a basket that she wrapped so beautifully, along with some money, and of course, just coming to hang out was a huge enough gift to me! I felt very blessed already, but I was happy to comply. I simply felt more blessed now.
As we wandered this lovely nursery/shop, we came across a live bee box that was IN THE STORE! (I think the bees have a tube that goes in and out of the building…it was totally cool!). All around the interesting display of live bees, were honey products. I chose an expensive lotion called “The Naked Bee” scented “Orange Blossom Honey”.
(Side note: Now when people smell it on me, the comments are interesting…for example, “Something smells like Pez candy.”)
We continued to look around and really enjoyed the place: Mom, me, my toddler son, and my three youngest sisters. Then Mom and I admired the unique natural peanut butter. “Get it,” Mom said, and she bought that for me too (it was honey roasted peanuts flavor). It wasn’t cheap, but it was delicious!
On our way home, we stopped at a store to get ingredients for suet (I’ll tell you more about that in another blog post).
Finally, we pulled up in my driveway, and Mom pulled out a jar of “Honey in the Rough” and gave it to me! Yep, she bought that too, at that special shop.
That night, Mom and my sisters watched our toddler, while my husband and I dressed up and went out to dinner. We had a good time.
And that is the story of a happy birthday this year! Thanks, everyone who made it special, especially my Mom. I love you!
Thanksgiving was fun, and the food was good, but I couldn’t possibly eat all those pie choices in one sitting!!! I managed the cheesecake and the key lime pie, but I don’t remember if I had the pumpkin. I definitely don’t remember eating that beautiful artistic-looking apple pie!
Does the celebration have to end? I summit that it does not! Not only from the perspective of being thankful to God continually, but as far as the joy of eating the good food that is still left in the refrigerator. So far, we have enjoyed turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and more. I continue to be thankful for such blessings.
And this morning? It was pumpkin pie for breakfast (with coffee and whipped cream of course)!
But continuing to celebrate Thanksgiving? What about the company you are supposed to share it with? Ah! Not a problem at all: My little toddler was more than happy to share the moment with me, as we delve into one dish of pie and cream together, sharing the same spoon. Whipped cream was all over his upper lip, which was cute. Together we enjoyed the moment!
So, peek in your refrigerator, and find an excuse to make happy moments with your kids this week. Pull out leftover desserts, and don’t stand there and complain about the calories; eat them with your kids and make the memories!!!
Eat pie for breakfast.
Those CURLS! Those beautiful, beautiful curls! Just over a year ago, he was looking like an old man with baldness on the top of his head. As his mother, I couldn’t wait for it to grow in. But once it did, I was delighted to find that this boy has beautiful curly hair to go with his beautiful smile.
His daddy and I have completely loved that toddler hair. John told me that we should let it grow until he is two, and then give him his first hair cut. I was going to do that but…
It was becoming more apparent that his hair was getting just too long. He was starting to look like Larry of “The Three Stooges”. My baby could sport this look anyway, because my “unbiased” opinion is that he is adorable all-of-the-time, but I had to at least trim around his ears, for now, until his first actual hair cut.
Okay, so… clip, clip. Uhhhh…. Um. Yikes! I unintentionally gave him a mullet!!!
With fear in my heart, I made him a bottle so that he’d stay still for mommy. I had to fix this mistake! John suggested that I trim it all around the back now that I clipped it so miserably short on the sides (my words; not his). I hurried upstairs where there was more light for me to see what I was doing! Eventually my sister joined me to give suggestions and moral support…
…and after a time, it started coming together! Wow! I was starting to realize that he was getting a half-way-deceit haircut…and I was relieved...
My precious little baby with the big curls, is now looking like a handsome little boy with little wisps. Before you know it, he’ll be growing a beard and I’ll be asking, “Where did the time go?”
Thanks for keeping still for mommy, Cheezit!