Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!! (almost)

The tree is up and decorated, the lights are on, the shopping is done....what else to do but WAIT?? I've been counting down the days until Christmas with my children (well, mainly my older one since Gannon doesn't really "get it"yet) and I'm so excited that today is Christmas Eve! I really love Christmas Eve, especially going to church and then coming home to sit in awe by the tree, knowing that in just a few short hours Christmas will be here.

We spent the day cleaning. Not the most exciting way to spend the day before Christmas, but it was really the best opportunity we had to all pitch in and just get it done. We leave for vacation on Saturday (going to Lake Lure, NC), and I don't want to come home to a dirty/messy house. I also am happy that we got the chance to all just hang out together and chill right before the crazy and wild havoc that comes with Christmas Day.

I know I get all excited about the holidays, but I can't help but always stop at some point and realize that there are lots of folks that aren't celebrating this season, whether it's by choice or not. There are a lot of people who don't have family with which to celebrate, or have lost someone close to them and just don't feel like celebrating. I really feel for those people and I always wish I could do more than I do. I usually do a good job of charitable giving around the holidays, but lately it just doesn't seem quite enough. Some people want a hug, some people want a shoulder to cry on, and some people just want to find that lost joy. The message I get from this is that maybe I need to start finding ways of giving other than monetarily. Maybe I need to go work a soup kitchen, or go pass out toys to little children in the projects. I'm not sure.

I do remember one of the best feelings I had (it was actually at Thanksgiving, not Christmas) was when I had the opportunity to actually give something other than a "new, unwrapped toy" or write a check to a charity organization (not that those aren't good things to do..). I had a client a few years back when I was working full-time, and she had no family; in fact, she was an elderly lady who was a shut-in. She had no transportation, and actually did not even have the desire to be out amongst the general population due to a severe anxiety disorder. Anyway, she came to see me every week despite not wanting to leave her small apartment, and she was very poor. She was also Jewish, and felt ostracized during the Christmas holidays by those people living around her. Well, this great agency in town prepares a box of everything you would need to cook a Thanksgiving meal for yourself and family, and they take applications for needy people to receive these boxes. They let professionals in the community fill out these applications and then they deliver the box to the agency working with the needy person. Well, when I learned of this outreach, I immediately filled out and application for this particular client and I got the box of food (it was a LOT of food...a WHOLE turkey, no less!!). So, I load it all in my trunk and the day before Thanksgiving I haul it all over to my client's apartment. I hadn't told her I was doing this, and I just showed up. The look on her face was priceless! I unloaded it all for her, gave her a hug and went on about my holiday. When the holidays were over, she told me about how touched she was that I did that, despite her oven not even being big enough to fit the turkey!!! That moment sticks out in my memory as the best feeling I've had about giving during the holidays. It was very special to both of us, I think.

So, I'll be enjoying my Christmas, but as I do I will keep in the back of my head those people that may not be enjoying it so much. I will say my prayers for those unknown people, and I hope they will feel that love somehow this season.

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Traditions

I've been thinking about traditions recently. Friday night I was at our Sunday School party, and we each filled out a name tag that included our Best Christmas Memory. As I thought about it, I came up with many, but I finally wrote, "sitting around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve". I think I picked that particular memory because generally after our church's Christmas Eve service, we would come home and still have all those warm fuzzies from singing favorite carols and lighting candles and praising the birth of Jesus. It was nice to come home in the dark night and sit with the lights off around the colorful tree, maybe drinking some hot chocolate or hot tea. It was just a peaceful memory for me, and I am all in favor of peacefulness during the rush of the holiday season. I think I also envy those days of being a child and not having the feeling of being rushed or frantic at the holidays as I sometimes do now. I certainly enjoy the season as an adult, but there is something about not having a care in the world and being able to sit in front of a beautiful tree to reflect on Christmas.

I've been trying to come up with some traditions for my immediate family. I think I've brought some of the traditions I had as a child and Jamie has brought some of his from his childhood, but I'm trying to think of some for us as a family unit. Of course we do the tree decorating while listening to Christmas music, reminiscing over favorite ornaments, attending special services at church, etc. However, I'm trying to find that one thing that makes our family's Christmas extra special to us. Maybe it will be attending the Nutcracker performance every year, or a Christmas play. Maybe it will be going to paint our own ornament at the pottery store (which is what we did this year). I'm not sure yet. I'm trying new things to see what that one thing is that sticks with my children as their favorite tradition, and what makes their eyes light up with the joy of Christmas. I'm really enjoying the process of finding out, too! I'm not sure what it will be, but I know that all of my attempts are just small ways of showing my children the love of Jesus through the Christmas season. Tonight we are going to a service at church in which my husband is singing and playing drums (he gets to sing "Little Drummer Boy" and he's very excited :) ). I hope we establish new traditions every year, and I think every year will be special in its own way. I can't wait to find out (when my children are grown) what the kids will say was their favorite family tradition, just as I had that opportunity this year to share mine.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Most people view change with trepidation. They approach it warily. I've been guilty of this in times past, but sometimes I find myself totally comfortable with it and even seeking change of some sort. While part of me likes routine and ordinary, another part of me seeks adventure and spontaneity.

I like watching the seasons change. Sometimes it can be so gradual that you hardly even notice when Spring becomes Summer. Other times it hits you in your face, such as when Fall becomes Winter too suddenly and you are scrounging around for your winter coat and long johns. I think I prefer gradual change, personally. It's much easier to accept and acclimate oneself to a slow process of change than something unexpected.

Change is necessary for growth to occur. I can't imagine if I still thought and reacted the way I did when I was 18. Change helps us mature. Change helps us experience the world in a new way. I think I'm starting to like this thing called Change.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I'm Not Who I Was

This is such a powerful song for me and some things I have been thinking about recently.