Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas: Round 2

Did you all have a good Christmas?

Tell me about it... I want to hear about your holidays. Just leave comments so I can read and enjoy them, ok? Whatever you want to share.


So tomorrow the fam is coming over. Since I was gone out west right up until Christmas eve at midnight, and since the younger families want to have their own celebrations in their own homes with their children, starting their own family traditions, and that is a good thing... since all this, we decided to have our family celebration on a different day. We are getting together New Year's Eve for our gifts and celebration.

Christmas Day felt a little different because of this. It was good, but different. Smaller. Daughter who lives at the other end of town came over and we opened gifts, had breakfast casserole, and relaxed around the house as we always have on Christmas Day. But there were only 5 of us.

It wasn't as noisy as usual. Not as full of... something. The commotion of happy people who love each other's company. I missed it. So did the younger ones. We had a good day, don't get me wrong. It was good to relax and the gifts were really nice this year, and it was good to be together. There was just a subtle difference made of having fewer people here and knowing they were somewhere else. I'm so glad daughter came for the day.

Life moves on.

So they each had good days in their own homes, and we are all getting together tomorrow night here, to pick up the celebrating where we left off, the few of us, on Christmas day. It will be good. There will be a crowd. Like 15 of us. And THEN it will feel like Christmas! There will be noise and laughter and gifts to open. There will be small people running around! There will be food and fun and someone will probably be grumpy at some point but it is all part of life and it's all good. I love it!

I hope you have a good Holiday tomorrow as well, and that your New Year starts off well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas List

I said there would be a list of my Joys and Thank Yous for Christmas. And here it is:

488. Christmas tree, shining in the living room. So pretty, so festive. It just glows.

489. Christmas lights twinkling in my house. I love the twinkly kind!

490. Christmas lights all over the countryside, sharing the Holiday Spirit with everyone!

491. Ornaments, reflecting the lights on the branches, telling their stories

492. Decorating the tree together with family, every ornament reminding us of something, some story past, and the sharing that happens right in that moment. Our family history shared and enjoyed.

493. The incredible fact that Christ, having lived forever in heaven, would be willing to come down, take on mortality, and live among us, in order to correct a wrong that we ourselves had done. Even though He knew it would be deeply painful and lead to His death. It's hard to understand such love.

494. Celebrating His birthday with the whole world.

495. Also celebrating family and friends and togetherness.

496. Finding gifts for people I love.

497. Getting good gifts. Did you think I would leave that out?? I am not that virtuous, people!

498. A new baby in the family.

499. The honor of attending the birth of that baby.

500. Sweet memories of being pregnant at Christmastime, kind of identifying with Mary and thinking how glad I was not to be on a donkey at nine months.

501. Nursing a baby by the light of the Christmas tree, in the middle of the night while all the house was silent. The lights from the tree cast a warm light on the baby's contented little face. All is Calm, All is Bright. It's a perfect moment of Peace and Love. This is one of my favorite Christmas memories of all.

Merry Christmas to all of you, dear friends.
Tonight I will be flying home for Christmas. As much as I am glad to have been here in Wyoming to attend daughter's first birth and to be some help, I am really excited to be heading home just in time for Christmas tomorrow.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." (John 14.27 NLT)

That's God's gift to you, if you take it. If you want more information, check out the Book, the Bible. It's all in there. Otherwise, just ask.

Happy Christmas Eve, friends, Merry Christmas too, and may your homes be filled with His peace and His love. May you each grow to know Him more and more as a good friend, One who loves us beyond anything we can understand.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Windy day in Cheyenne

It's blowing here. Man is it blowing! They say it can get windy in Cheyenne, and today they sure are right! I want to go out and run a couple errands in daughter's car (I am here visiting her and her family), but it is blowing so loud and hard I wonder how the car will handle in this wind.

I won't be going on the expressway so I imagine it'll be fine. I'll just make my list and go.

I am scheduled to fly home on Friday night, Christmas Eve! I am getting excited about that. It's good that I have been here. It's good I was here for her birth. I am trained as a doula, and she asked me to come. It's also good that she has had someone to help around the house, even though I haven't done a lot of work. Just straightening and getting the dishes done is helpful. Those first few days with a new baby can be so overwhelming. Babies need so much! And they need it constantly! It can be exhausting.

It is interesting that in so many cultures such great care is taken of a new mother. Not so much in this culture, but many places a mother is fed certain foods, restricted in her activities, massaged or loved on... different things in different cultures. I don't think I would like some of those customs, the ones that restricted my freedom especially. But I do think there is something to be said for taking special care of a new mother. Some places set apart a certain number of days - 40 days maybe - for this special time of postpartum care. I think this is a good thing, though I would wish for it to be flexible. In out culture I am suprised that women are expected to be at appointments as soon as the day after they leave the hospital (assuming they have gone to the hospital to give birth in the first place, which choice is another post altogether). If they give birth at home, I believe that any checks that need to be done are made in the home, with
midwives or visiting nurses coming in. At least, that has been my experience.

Anyway, I am here to be helpful for a couple weeks, and after that I think she will be ok. Her husband is very helpful. I hope other friends in the area pitch in too. But right now I have to go run a couple errands for her. Gotta go.

Wrapping Gifts With my Kids on the first Snowy Day of the Season.

Gift Wrapping on the First Snowy Day

First of December,
The snow begins falling...
Couple of inches and
Keeps coming down.
Quiet and bright.
Ground soft and white.

Up in my sweet room
There with my offspring,
Colorful wrapping,
Fun job ahead...
Presents galore
Spread on the floor.

We are relaxing,
Music is playing...
Happy old Christmas songs
from long ago.
Complete contentment
One perfect moment.


It really was one of those perfect moments that will stay in my memory bank for life. One wonderful son, one precious daughter, and me, all together in the room we have just redecorated with my favorite colors. My work was done, so I curled up with pillows on the day bed while they sat on the floor and we talked.

Somehow all the Christmas wrapping paper in the house had migrated to this room, and the gifts they had chosen were spread on the floor waiting to be wrapped.

Pandora filled the air with its best old Christmas music, the kind you hear on the radio every season: "Silver Bells", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Eartha Kitts, and the room was filled with Christmas happiness and the love of family.

Then it began to snow!

And outside the windows, we watched things change from late autumn's brown to a new, clean, pure white. The first snow! Right there, right at that moment, while we basked in each other's company, surrounded by colorful papers and ribbons, wrapping gifts to the sound of the season, right then the sky shared its own holiday treasures, and the air inside brightened as the air outside filled with tiny white snowflakes and the ground was covered with white, freshened for a new season.

Perfect moments like this can only be the gifts of a perfect heavenly Father who loves us more than we deserve. I am so grateful to be loved so lavishly.

On In Around button

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Where I've Been

Wow, seriously? I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. My last post was a gratitude list from Thanksgiving! Linda from Lime in the Coconut read that and suggested it was time for a Christmas list. She has a point! I have been busy with life and not with writing. But it's time. And Ted from Jesus Community noticed I tend to make lists. Well, he's right, I do... this time I'm not listing, but I expect to have a Christmas list up soon. Today I want to tell you where I've been and what I've been up to. I haven't posted much lately because life required my full attention.

I am halfway across the country right now, in the state of Wyoming. The weather is far different here from at home where they are experiencing true winter with near blizzard conditions.

I came out here to attend my daughter's first birth. (I am a trained doula, as well as being her mom.) Got here on December 8th and plan to fly back home on the 24th. A tiny pink thing, Lindsey Ann, was born on the 10th, only two days after I got here. She weighed 7lb, 13 oz, was 20 inches long, and she is simply beautiful. See for yourself:

She has so many different expressions! The run across her face like cloud shadows run across the plains on a windy day, changing constantly.

Sometimes she studies the world around her like a little scientist, scowling in deep thought, figuring out this new discovery. Sometimes a hint of a smile flits across her contented little face. It is amazing, isn't it, how much real humanity is packed into such a tiny package?

After about three days, yesterday she seemed to be getting the hang of life on the outside. Days are beginning to smooth out. Those first few days with a newborn are so intense, with such a huge learning curve for all involved. But everyone is doing well and already I see things settling down.

Meanwhile, back at home, a big winter storm came through. It turned super-cold and roads got very slippery. This is what they tell me by phone. On the way home from church - a half hour drive - the temp dropped 5 degrees and roads began freezing over. Husband was the passenger and my son got a well-coached "first crazy-slippery driving of the season" lesson. I was glad for this. Everyone takes a few times out to remember winter driving each season, and yes, even though he is a pretty responsible 19 year old, still, ice is ice and I worried a little. I will worry a lot less now, knowing his dad was there to help him out this one time when it got so bad.

So I am here, going out shopping in just a sweater while at home they are bundling up. It feels strange. But I am glad that I can be here to help out for a while. I fix meals, help put up their first Christmas tree, load the dishwasher, answer questions on baby care, etc. It's not a lot, but it seems to help out.

It's good.