Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...

My heart is so full... Full of hopes and dreams, the promise of Christmas and the end of another calendar year. What will 2013 bring, God only knows.

But, whatever it looks like, I think I am ready as I can be. Smart enough to understand that I can still be shocked at what human beings are able to do each other. Understanding that when I walk out my front door, all bets are off.

While it may seem that I have been replaced by Debbie Downer, I am ok with that for a while. There is no set time that we bounce back and go back to normal. While the New Year brings a new start for most of us, for many it will not. It will be the same hospital room, the same empty bedroom, the same heartache, the same hunger pangs, the same unpaided bills, the same shelter that is home.

May you and yours experience the fullness of Christmas. May your hearts be full, overflowing with gratitude, no matter what. And may the New Year brings hope to each of us. Merry Christmas...

Christmas 2012...

Update on Team Brianna!!! The Bone Marrow Transplant is starting to take a toll on her... She is in constant pain and is nauseated all the time.... She will be spending Christmas in the hospital from Sylma via FB.

Sylma is in the trenches with Brianna. She has been there to help in any way she can. She is Brianna's mom, best friend. She has no children of her own so Brianna and her brother are like her very own. She is also becoming my new BFF.

Christmas 2012 will be rememebered as a hard one. With Brianna in the hospital, it almost feels not right to enjoy the season. It seems like I should be on Hospital Time, which if you have ever experienced it, has a time all to its own.

Then last week, the unthinkable. I am so much more aware of every holiday tradition that I do. Last night was Keaton's holiday concert. Before it even started, I took a photo of a blank stage. I imagined 20 little people and their 6 teachers, all in their holiday best, ready to sing their hearts out. There was also one more girl, she sang Amazing Grace and you could tell, she meant every word.

But, that was just in my mind. A pretty picture but no truth in it. The reality is that those 26 will not be at their family gatherings and the one little angel singing, will most likely not be singing much of anything this Christmas.

Go what you do, celebrate to the fullest. Mourn when you feel the need and let the tears fall. Let the tears fall...


via Cathy Zielske

If you find yourself, not wanting to do much, you are not alone.
If you want to keep your kids close and not let them go, you are not alone.
If your heart is heavy, you are not alone.

While many think they have answers or refuse to even discuss changing existing laws for fear of losses perceived rights, the truth is we are all, hurting. This is a multi-layer problem and no one has the correct way to make the pain we are feeling, go away.

Maybe with the unthinkable that has happened, we will understand that is will keep happening. We may start to understand that we are not safe, anywhere. Whether the grocery store, the movie theater, church and even school, we live in a different world and the problem will not be solved with less than different solutions.

Be with your feelings. The first of 27 funerals were held today. 25 more to go. Not a big deal if you live anywhere but Newtown. Remember those in prayer as you go through out your week. We have Keaton's Christmas concert tomorrow night. I will be remebering those who will be attending burials, not Christmas programs this week.

We will forget. There will be more mass shootings, maybe even more unimaginable than this one. Hard to believe now, but in a few days, not so much...


Waiting to hear about Brianna's bome marrow transplant on Thursday, we had no idea that after months of praying the healing of this precious one, in less than 24 hours there would be 20 children whose parents will be planning funerals, not Christmas shopping.

The weekend has been somewhat of a blur. With Keaton sick Thursday and Friday, Saturday there was a shopping trip with Gage and finished the night with our annual Christmas light tour. This morning, church via the internet, is playing in the background. Usually love listening to the sermon at midnight, my favorite time. It is dark, quiet and the words seem to stick with me, but that is another Story.

Sometime yesterday it occured to me that the same time those 20 babies entered heaven, so did the shooter. On Friday, I posted on FB, May God have mercy because mine is nowhere to be found. Later on in the weekend, I understood the kind of mercy I was talking about, it not mine to give. The weight is off my shoulders. Yet, the thought of them and him, in heaven together, seems so wrong, so unfair.

I knew a long time ago that I was going to dedicate our Christmas Light Tour to Brianna. I know there are lots of things going on in the hospital to cheer the kids up during the Christmas season, but to be outside, free to be. To got out for pizza and later, ice cream, is something she will not have this year. I prayed for her while we drove around. As the kids sang Christmas carols with the radio, I prayed for joy. Every bit of laughter, I wished a smile for her face. I also prayed for those just getting the news they already knew, and how this Christmas will mark their lives forever.

When, not if... it is the Story of all our lives. While it may look different, we each will have trials and the unthinkable happen to us and at Christmas, it feels gigantic. Too much, too much. It is Sunday and while Sunday holds no magic, it is a new day. A new day to pull up one's Big Girl panties and try again. We as a nation, will mourn but we will do it,

in our own way,
in our own time.
and then together, we will start to heal...

riding in a winter wonderland...

Realizing this year, the many layers of Christmas...

First it starts with a Charlie Brown Christmas. Soon, the month-long holiday music starts and then a month later, Thanksgiving...or so it seems.

They don't hit us all at one time. Slowly yet steadily, we are lured in by the powers of outside and inside. The struggle begins - how to make the holidays meaningful, fit in all our traditions and make sure there is a even amount for everyone, under the tree.

The truth is you can't do it all. Oh, you may think you can but eventually you will fess up and trim the list. The important versus the essential. It will occur to you that the simple things are the keepers and that is is alot of Christmas fat that can be trimed.

Maybe this year is different because of Brianna. It seems so crystal clear. Things that usually bother me, haven't fazed me in the least. Some of the layers are falling by the way side. I am good with it all. Even winter is seeming a wary, cozy place to land. It is different, yet satisfying. I wish everyone the same message. Like Tiny Time said, God bless us all...

men and Christmas gifts...

Got in on a radio conversation between a man and a woman, the subject was men giving gifts. The interesting part was when they started talking, lingerie. One of them read an article that said a man should never, ever buy lingerie. The thinking was he would either buy something that couldn't be worn in front of the children and risk buying the wrong size and getting into another kind of trouble.

DH is not a present buyer, never has been and when we stopped trying to make him so, it worked out alot better.

Go buy whatever you want, is his shopping motto and it works for us. I have a friend whose husband has his own ideas of gift giving and doesn't take imput for Christmas and Birthdays. It works for them.

Men are good for many things at Christmas time. Whatever strenghts your man has, go with that. All men are not made alike. Mine is not a Christmas light hanger but he encouraged his SIL from the ground and handed up pieces, as needed. He got my little white wax trees, up and running. Batteries included. Life is good...

standing firm...

We all have times that we lose it. Some of us are better at accepting that part of the human experience. I find it a bit difficult even though, I know it to be true.

Tears are not a sign of weakness, they are to show us that we are human. That Sometimes, it is ok, to fall apart. This has been that kind of weekend for me, but I am coming back and this time, stronger.

I have no new insight, no heavy revelations. Nothing has been done to show me that everything is going to be alright, maybe even the opposite but what I do have control over is my behavior, my beliefs. How I am going to perceive life and that will direct in which direction I am going to go. I am choosing to stand strong, no matter what.

No matter what.

Tears, bring them on, I am standing in the gap.

No matter what, I am prepared to stand in the gap.

Whatever that means and may look like, my focus and direction will stay constant.

Bad news, impossible dreams, a less than perfect ending.

I am standing firmly, in the gap.

I am strong, ready, go...

Sometimes, not so merry and bright...

You are in a good mood, Christmas music is playing and the mail is especailly anticipated. What you don't want is for anything to go wrong.

Thankfully, while the mug is broke, the other packages have so far, made it through, unharmed. Got a few more things coming, and then I will start my panic shopping.

Thank goodness, we live in an age of overnight everything and for the right price, we need not worry our pretty little heads too much. With email and few quick photos, our predicament is explained and a remedy will be on its way when said item is back in stock.

Just like Real Life, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas is filled with things not so merry and bright. I know a little girl and her family who are facing a Plasma excahgne today, then chemo and a bone marrow transplant next week.

There are more important things than, Merry and Bright.

We are convinced this time of year that if we just give enough...everyone, yes, everyone will have a Merry Christmas and we can feel good about doing our part and going on to enjoy our Merry and Bright without a lot of guilt. If that gets you through...

We can't save the world.
We can't give enough to make our guilt, go away.

What we can do is learn to appreciate Merry and Bright when we can, and when we can't, to still be thankful. Anything less, would make us as broke as my Focus Ceramic Lens Cup...

favorite things...

This time of year, most everything is magical. even the plight of the homeless. Everywhere you turn, we are helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Of course that all ends on December 26 but that is another post.

Most of the things that make me somewhat giddy this time of year, have nothing to do with money. Sometimes the best things in life are free but we fail to see the value. The annual church Christmas program is one of them for me.

This will be the last year that we will be able to talk Gage into doing it. A few more years for Miss M and then, this seasonal tradition will be no more. I remember sitting through a month of practices with Brandi and now, with the grandbabies. There is just Something about children singing that brings the truth of Christmas, that much closer.

This morning was to be the surgery day for Brianna. Getting her ready for a bone marrow transplant, that will save her life. The surgery was cancelled, she had been running a temp of 103 all night. No info on when they are going to try again.

I had a nice talk with Brianna's mom yesterday. She talked of how they got moved to a new room in the hospital and how much better it was. She talked of the view outside their window. She told me that her mom had bought some things that glow in the dark and at night, that makes Brianna, the happiest.

We each have our favorites at Christmas. Old traditions kick in and Sometimes, we have to adjust and make new ones. On Dec 23, I will watch with tears in my eyes as Morgan and Gage sing their little hearts out. I will also remember that there are other families who would give anything to see their kids in a Christmas program. Praise be for new traditions. May God bless us, everyone...

Should anyone knock at my heart and say, Who lives here? I should reply, not Martin Luther but the Lord Jesus Christ. Martin Luther.

Suppose, I decided to start helping one of my very best friends. I want to share her, with the world. I make it my life time mission to spread the love that I have got from her, with everyone I meet.

Suppose I start by defining what I perceive her to be, then be it. Well meaning as I may be, my perception and even more, my reproduction of who she is, doesn't always translate. To go from one, through two and then to the world, you lose quite a bit. If she spoke for herself, I might even learn a thing or two.

Do the same for Jesus.
Stop right now.
Don't do anything for Him, every again.
Start right now.
Let Him speak through you.
Quite trying to show Him to the world,
Let Him, show Himself.

Fight the urge to project yourself, in any way. EVen if it seems like you are doing nothing, by doing less - you are doing more.

Let Him shine, or not. Let Him lead. Just be open and ready to go when called upon and not, until...

bad gifts...

Yes, you can give a bad gift. Some are intentional and some not, even though it would appear that they are. There are some things that should never be given as gifts. It is not the thought that counts unless it comes with a receipt and a clear concouis from the giver. In no special order, here is my list of Gifts You Should Never Give.

Pets - this has happened to us twice. Well meaning family and friends. Once a cat and then a dog. Really? Before you give a gift, ask yourself what you would think of said gift.

Purses - for the ladies in your life. If she has speciifically showed you a particular purse, don't give one you pick out as a gift. No matter how well meaning, a purse is as intimate as underwear. There are Somethings we should pick out for ourselves, leave it that way.

Cars - If it comes with a payment book. If you are buying it outright, go ahead and make sure to give them the receipt in case they have to take it back and get a different color. The gift of a car that comes with payment coupons, is not a gift. It is a debt. Not your place to give.

Am not ashamed that I would not donate a toy at the Dollar Store. If I would not buy one for one of mine, I will not for someone else and BTW, if you donate food to a Christmas food pounding or food bank, give the good stuff not the stuff in the back of our pantry...

Happiness Revealed...

You think today is just another day in your life, but it is not just another day.
It is the one day that is given to you, today.

It is given to you.
It is a gift that is given to you, right now.
It is the only gift that you have right now and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.

If you do not else but cultivate a response of gratitude throughout this day to the great gift that this unique day is, that will be enough.
As you learn to respond as if it was the first day of your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day, very well.
Happiness Revealed.

Not sure I agree with the title. One can be in awe and wonder without being happy. In fact in the worst of Moments, understanding that even in those terrible, maybe even horrible Moments, one can find and see, the Big Picture. Being happy has nothing to do with the Big Picture. Either does being sad, the Big Picture stands alone.

This will happen when we learn to live in the Moment. Can we go there and stay there? The things that we are able to put on auto pilot are usually, not the things of life that are essential. They may not even be of much importance. To live in the Moment will take everything you have to give. It will not always come seamlessly. On Days of Sorrow, it will seem like an eternity, but we have to face what is. The good and the bad.

We slip and slide. Our days are as unalike as they are alike. We fall into a life hypnosis where we are unable to see the small changes that are all around us. Take time to look and maybe, just maybe, you will see what you have never seen before...