Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here we are, once again...

Christmas has come and gone, and another year is about to come to a close. It's weird how as we get older, the years tick by as mere blips on the radar. The end of the year causes me to be reflective, but it also makes me hopeful for another year to come.

In years past, I had the bright idea that we should have a theme going into January 1st. I believe 2003 was the first one, at least that I can remember. "Become Debt Free in 2003"! Oh please. Don't make me cuss. "Expecting More in 2004" was our next bright idea. How'd that work out for us? NOT TOO GOOD.

So, in 2005, we decided to shoot a little lower.... "Stay Alive in 2005". Praise God! It was one that we accomplished! I don't take it lightly either. It was a lesson learned. Aim low, and you leave less room for disappointment.

So for 2011, I'm wondering what my theme should be? Some things that crossed my mind are.... "Better Than '07, It's 2011" (wouldn't take much).... "New Engines are Revvin' in 2011" (I need a CAR!)... "Let's Make It 7 in 2011".... (Wait for it... Wait for it... and THAT'S A BIG FAT NO.)

I'm thinking an appropriate shot would be "Taking More to Heaven in 2011". I've been pondering a lot about lost people lately, and how I need to live a better witness. Maybe this theme can be my motivation to share with lost souls the hope that Jesus Christ brings to my life. I plan to return to West Virginia in the Summer of 2011 for a "mission trip", but in the mean time, I should be more aware of those around me. I've really fallen down on my job this year. In fact, confession time, I have spent less time in my Bible this year than in a very long time. (I hate for my Junior High girls' Sunday School class to hear that, but I'm going to do better!) Yep, I could say that I've just been busier, but that would not necessarily be true. Fact is, I've been slack. As a result I feel disconnected, almost like I'm wandering around looking for something that is lost. I mean, I can still obviously feel God working in my life, but I haven't done a very good job holding up my end of that relationship. I want to be a good example, and not one of an attempt at perfection. I want to be an example of simple humanity with a dedication and dependence on Christ. It's time that I step up to the plate.

So maybe a more appropriate theme for the upcoming year would be "More Aware of Heaven in 2011". That covers more bases really. I hope it will harken back to the great year of 2005, when we all managed to stay alive.... Come to think of it, that would be another goal for the year that I would certainly like to accomplish.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Better late than never...

It was a December morning, just a little over a week until Christmas, and I woke up to an unusual feeling. Ken had already left for work in Charlotte, and I realized my water had broken. I called him to return, and I decided it was a good idea to call Mom. Jordan needed to get to preschool, and it looked like Ken and I were heading to the hospital.
Turns out, just because your "water" had broken didn't mean a baby was coming that day. So, we settled into the hospital room. That afternoon I started a card game with my hubby, and as I sat in the rocking chair, I had an unusual pain in my back. Yep, it was labor time.
I labored into the night until my doctor decided that it was time to rest. I'm thankful for a doctor who followed my wishes to deliver a baby after having had a c-section. It wasn't easy, and it took a lot of patience on everyone's part, but on Friday morning, my baby girl was born.
She was born during Jordan's preschool Christmas program, so my parents weren't there. The most memorable thing to me is thinking that she looked like a chubby baby version of her daddy! Jordan ended up being sick and having to stay with the grandparents, so daddy and I started our bonding time with little Lauren Ashley.
(We snuggled in bed that night and watched "It's a Wonderful Life". What an appropriate end to an amazing day.)
I can't say enough about what a sweet baby Lauren was. She was joyful, happy, funny baby. She learned quickly and rarely had to be corrected. She is a sweet little sister. As she has grown, she has kept that sweet, level-headed personality. I used to worry about what was going on in the pretty little head of hers, but then I realized that my own need to blurt everything out was just a contrast to her more thoughtful, careful way of dealing with things.
She's a middle child essentially, younger to Jordan, older to her twin sisters. She's a mediator and a peace-maker. She's funny but quiet, although as she's gotten older she has learned that it's fine to tell you what she thinks. (She's quite honest!) She's stylish and beautiful, and she carries herself so well. She is dedicated to living for Christ, and I'm excited to see what He has in store for her.
She's a genuis, a golfer, a talented singer, she's a leader who can follow, and she has a heart for children. This past summer, I was able to watch her at work with the less fortunate kids of West Virginia that we ministered to, and it was a true blessing. She is still the personification of her preschool indian name, Bright Star, and she brightens our lives every day.
Thank you, Lord, for Lauren. She is such a blessing to us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year?

The hustle and the bustle tends to stress me every year, as my husband reminds me when I mention that I'm stressed out. "You are always stressed out from Thanksgiving to Christmas", says Ken. Truly, I always just let my surroundings have an impact on me, making me feel the stress of the craziness swirling around me. People become ruder, seem to be more pushed for time, and are just totally missing the entire idea of what this season is supposed to mean.

So why do I allow everyone around me to control how I feel about the season? Why do I struggle year in and year out from Thanksgiving to Christmas? I've been giving that some thought this year. I'm still losing myself in trying to make others happy. I wonder how I can avoid that? What is it about life that causes me to lose my focus this time of year?

I hear other women talking about making gifts, spending time with friends, and intricately decorating their homes. Well, I'm not terrible crafty, and who has time, I only have a few friends and they're pretty busy, and again who has time, and I can't afford to decorate my home intricately. Am I complaining? Well, not really. I just can't allow myself to get caught up in trying to do all of these things. I can't worry about everyone else's happiness. I have to just relax and enjoy my own little world, however different it may be from others'.

In a news story I heard this morning, they were discussing how to deal with family during the holidays. The entire story was how each family has so many problems, and how those are exaggerated during the holiday season. It made me start thinking of things differently....

I can honestly say that when I get together with my family, we have a blast. We don't argue, we don't bicker, we just have an amazingly great time! There is no tension, just loads of fun. Because I don't get to see my cousins very often, we just bask in the glow of our love for each other, as cheesy as that sounds, and enjoy each other's families. Anyone that would join us would be amazed at how close we are and how much love they feel among us. We are all hard-working, busy, God-fearing people that enjoy laughing and just having a great time but don't get to do it often enough.

This brings me to my wrap-up. I don't have a lot of girlfriends to just get together with and do girly things. (And the ones I do have just don't have time to get together and do girly things!) I don't have a lot of money to do extravagant things for Christmas. I do have a family that loves me no matter what, children that are already planning to adopt a child in a third world country for their Christmas present, a husband that brings joy to most any day, but most of all a Savior who constantly reminds me of what Christmas really should mean.

No hustle, no bustle... Just a baby in a manger. Just a Savior Who came to Earth in flesh and blood only to give His life for me and for you. So, even though I find myself wanting to skip Christmas every year, this year I will be still and remember the real reason for the season. Thank you, Lord.