Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Peace on Earth

Peace on earth

 And so it begins, the most festive time of the year, sleigh bells, sparkles, lights and all.  I have a love/hate relationship with the season. I know this sounds terrible, but I do.  I love the season of giving, of celebration and Jesus.  I also love the imagination and wonder in my children’s eyes.  What I struggle with are the stresses, the anxiety and the pressure I feel in month of December.   I love to go to my friend’s homes and smell the cinnamon and evergreen, but it tends to remind me that my house smells like dirty little boy feet and last night’s dinner.   The posted pictures of Pinterest perfect d├ęcor, ahh …the pressure.  I love watching a tutorial for making a pool noodle wreath, but find that the time and  energy to make one escapes me.  I stare in wonder at the edible snow globe cupcakes, and then the realization hits me that it would literally take 1 solid hour to make just  one.  I just can’t…And that is not something I admit often.

Another struggle of the season is, instilling gratitude in my children. I work year round to make sure that they value everything and not take “things’ for granted.  However, during the season of giving, they are overwhelmed with the need to “get”. TV commercials flood them with the idea that they “must’ have this or they cannot “live’ without that. I want them to be grateful for a new skateboard, meanwhile their friend from school received a trip to the moon piloted by the avengers.  I love doing  the elf on the shelf, and believe me when I  say I use the heck out of  the phrase,"Santa is watching" during this month. But sometimes, it feels like just too much.

I want them to understand and appreciate that Jesus’ birth is ENOUGH. It was a gift.  I also try to let them imagine, dream and enjoy every second of childhood.  Two things bring me peace during the season of hustle and bustle, the nativity scene and any rendition of “Oh Holy night”  I stop and stare at the nativity, I think of all the stress and anxiety Mary must have felt, a new expectant mother, fleeing her home, and carrying the savior. Talk about pressure. Yet, she found solace in a stall, with animals and hay, and strangers bringing her baby gifts.  Although her birthing location was less than Pinterest worthy, it was “perfect’.  The first Christmas was perfect without bells, without beautiful wrapping and decorations. It happened still.  The words of the carol, “Fall on your knees”, Christ is born and it IS enough.  I am grateful for his birth, his love and his faithfulness.   The Peace of the season is sometimes difficult to find, but it’s worth searching for, it’s worth the struggle.  I hope during this season of hurry you don’t let the peace escape you. Let there be Peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A faithful friend

John 15:13 Greater love have no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.

                In my life I have had fantastic friends. God has graced me with friends perfect for every season of my life.   I have only had one, walk in to my life and change me forever.   My beloved friend Tracy, needs no introduction, everyone knows her name.  She treats everyone with respect and love.  When you talk to her she has a way of making you feel like you are the most important person in the world and worthy of her time and prayers.   I have had moments of self-doubt, anxiety or struggle and she magically appears with my favorite sonic drink and a treat.  She can make me laugh when  smiling feels impossible.  Her patience is immeasurable. I have watched her chase her dog in the rain and mud and never break a sweat or raise her voice.   My children eat her food, destroy her house, and use magic marker on her brand new walls and she loves them as her own anyway.   She is unselfish to a fault and puts herself last in everything that she does.  Last Spring, when I was coaching softball and my husband was working on his business she volunteered to take my kids at every turn and wouldn’t take no for an answer. For five lengthy months she had 5 children to care for after school instead of 3 and never knew that, that act of kindness meant more to me than she will ever know.  She is reliable. Last year, I was struggling to get Hudson’s birthday party together, she arrived like the cavalry, baby on hip, to help in any way that she could. She missed her son’s own baseball game to help me because she knew without her I might crumble.  Aside from being a fantastically selfless friend, she is the mom I aspire to be. I watch her in hopes of her patience and strength rubbing off on me.   We fill our summers with adventure and memories that will last a lifetime. I can’t imagine it any other way.   I am grateful and consider myself blessed to have her in my life, for every birthday, every struggle, every birth and every passing. 

I am grateful you were born, and I am blessed to call you friend.