Monday, November 29, 2010

Farewell To Fall

Thanksgiving 2010 has come and gone. We had a wonderful day at my sister’s house with all the family present. I can’t believe I didn’t take a single picture. Sometimes it is better to just live the moment rather than trying to photograph it!  The worst thing about going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving – NO leftovers. Sad smile  But this year my sister packed us a care package to bring back home with us! So on Friday we got to eat some Honey Baked ham, some yummy cornbread dressing,  green beans and orange Jell-O salad. YEA for leftovers! Thumbs up

The final weeks of fall are upon us, and we are heading into the most difficult weeks of the year. This week I’ll be packing up the pumpkins, the leaves, the fall candles, the gourds – saying good-bye to the cozy fall d├ęcor and trying to gather the energy to clean house thoroughly. Then I’ll head to the attic to bring the Christmas boxes down. It seems like so much work… and the financial worries of the season tend to dampen my spirits. It’s easy to lose sight of the baby in the manger. It’s hard to ‘change’ the expectations that kids have at Christmas; hard to get them on board to focus on the true meaning. Oh, they know it… but they are gripped by the commercial aspects as well, and reluctant to change those expectations. To their credit, we don’t buy things all through the year so they do have a needs/wants wish list built up. Still… it’s difficult to get through this time of year, financially.

Sometimes I wonder, how did my mama do it. How did she make Christmas so special for us when the money was every bit as tight when we were growing up? How did she keep her joy and make it magical for us, and keep the money worries away? We poured through the Wishbooks (Sears and JC Penney) and check-marked things, made our lists, checked them twice.. or three or four… arranged them in order of most wanted! We worried whether Santa would bring the things we wanted most. (He always did!) And we tried our hardest to be extra good. Angel  

She has been gone 20 Christmases now. My, how I have struggled to find the magic again.  Something occurred to me as I thought back over the years. It seems like every year she began the season by bringing out the nativity set. She carefully unwrapped each fragile piece and set up the scene on the bookcase. There  was the large wooden stable with its hay-scattered floor. Then she arranged the family and sheep in the stable. Then wise men and donkeys and a shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders were set up outside the stable, all making their way to behold the Savior!  Then last of all – she allowed me to carefully hang the angel above the stable and wind the key beside her. Then ‘Silent Night’ would begin to play and I would  be in awe once again as the soft night light fell upon the figures in the stable! This, this simple tradition would begin the Christmas season at our house.  Maybe this is the key/ the magic.  I have her nativity set but there have been recent years when I didn’t even bring it down from the attic. Not only was it not the signal of the beginning of the season. It didn’t make an appearance at all. Sad smile  Of course I had smaller nativity pieces set round about in various areas… just the little family – Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  It’s not the same. You know what – I am thinking that box should be the first one out of the attic this year. Not the tree… not the boxes of lights and ornaments… not the knick-knacks that sit on the shelves.  No, I will pack away fall this week and clean up good. Then I will bring down that box and remember all those wonderful Christmases past, when that sweet stable scene set my mind on the reason for the season. And instead of doing it myself while the girls are gone to school, I’ll wait for them and allow them to HELP. TOGETHER we will WELCOME the season as we begin it by keeping Christmas as my mama always kept it – eyes on the baby, hearts of expectation, thankful for the gift God gave.

I’ll let you all know how it goes! Be right back

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A LONG Dry Spell on the Journey

It has been a LONG time since I visited my blog. Facebook has provided a convenient way of staying in touch with family and friends and it was easier to pop in there and post a line or two as opposed to actually sitting here to write a blog post. So many it seems, have fallen by the wayside of blogging and turned to this easier route of keeping in touch. Thankfully, many have continued to share their every day lives and thoughts through blogging and I kept reading despite my lack of blogging. I have been refreshed and encouraged through the bloggers I enjoy reading and following.  Perhaps they have brought me to this day of wanting to write again.

Life has been a series of ups and downs (as life can tend to be) and it would be impossible to relate all that has gone on since I was last here writing, nor would I want to. So today I will pick up and begin anew… for myself, and for any friends who  happen to drop by. It is THANKSGIVING week in the USA and I feel so thankful that all my family lives within the same state, and we will all be gathering at my sister’s  for Thanksgiving Day. It may not always be this way, as families grow and jobs sometimes take them away… so I am grateful for our time now. Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday of the year.  Just to be together and soak in the joy of having all my kids around, my siblings,nieces and nephew… it fills up my ‘tank’ to have this day to be together since none of us live in the same city or even same areas of the state anymore. IMG_0532

DSC02014Hannah is a senior this year. We were watching old family videos this week and the scenes were so near in my memory – how could she now be a senior in High School? Alas, time is passing whether I want it to or not. She has done well in her softball and was offered a full scholarship to a state jr. college. Signing day will be in January… and her final high school season will begin shortly after. How bittersweet! Last year they captured the ‘6A Alabama State Runner Up’ title and trophy in softball. This year they will try to go back and finish the job and take the #1 trophy.

We ended the high school season in May and she played summer travel ball. They played a little bit this fall and will pick it back up as soon as the high school season ends this coming May. After that, it will be on to college ball! It’ll be fun and I’m glad our softball days won’t end yet.

Senior portraits have come in  and cap and gown and announcements have been ordered. The year is FLYING by.

Katelyn is an 8th grader, finishing up her middle school career. It seems unreal that she’ll be in high school in a few months! There were a number of changes at her school this year. Their principal retired and he is so missed. The kids LOVED Mr. Norris. Then to make matters worse their much loved assistant principal was sent over to be the principal at another school. So the leadership is all new this year and they don’t know the kids like the old group did. They do things a lot different which is hard to get accustomed to. Needless to say, the 8th graders are more than ready to move on out of there now. Katelyn went out for cheerleading for the first time and made the squad so she has enjoyed cheering during the football season and now at basketball.  She’s a good little cheerleader so I hope she’ll go out for high school next year as well.

Bobby was finally able to get work here locally back in July so he’s home now.  He seems to be doing well, health-wise. For those who don’t know, this very weekend last year he suffered chest pains which landed him in he hospital. He ended up having a heart catheterization and a stent inserted in the LAD (the ‘widow maker’ artery was 90% blocked) on the front of his heart. He was a very lucky guy! Every Thanksgiving we will remember Thanksgiving 2009 when God was with him and his life was spared.

I’m doing ok. Life is stressful and stress has a negative impact on my physical well-being but it’s hard to reduce stress sometimes. Right now I am looking for a job. I have a lot of applications out there in the past 6-7 weeks but  nothing has come through yet.  I’ve been at home with my babies for 30 years now and am finding it’s not easy to get into the work force with no job history in over 30 years. I don’t really want to leave the home as I have always felt my job/calling was here as a homemaker and mother. We’ve lived as frugal as possible but could really use a bit of additional income. Times are tough economically and I fear they are about to get tougher as we go into 2011. Hopefully I can get a foot in the door somewhere soon. And hopefully it will be flexible and tailor-made for us, because my first job IS at home.

Well, that’s about it for now. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all who visit here. Red heart