Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pain and Hope

Sometimes you just wish someone understood your pain.  You know your husband is empathetic, caring and concerned.  But there is that niggling in the back of your head, "Does he really understand or does he think I am faking?"  You have no proof of this, just your brain playing tricks on you.  When you ask your teens to do something for you, like get you a drink, make some tea, unload the dishwasher because the pain won't allow you to do it, they roll their eyes and sigh and you think, "Do they think I am faking?".  You wish they got it, understood.  When your friends show impatience with you for not being able to go and do, you wish they got it, understood.  Then it dawns on you suddenly.  For them to know means they have it.  Means they are in as much pain as you are in.   No, no, no.  I don't want them to ever understand.  I don't want them to EVER get it.  I don't.

But the thing is, I don't want it either.  We are coming to the end of another year.  Another year without a cure.  Not just a cure for my diseases but for so many diseases!  It is heartbreaking.  Yet, we hold on to hope.  Hope that a mistake will happen in a lab and a cure will be found in the process.  Or hell, just a drug with no side effects that makes your body think it is well and takes away all the pain.  Anything.  I'll take anything.

I don't like when I get to this place.  The negativity door just flies open and all the whining, complaining and bitching just flies out.  Just ask Jack!  I guess we all have a tolerance level and I have reached mine once again.  I know it will get better.  I know I will know days of just a little pain.  At least I hope so.  That is the scary part.  You always wonder, is this it? Is this the beginning of a life with a much higher level of pain always?  That is frightening because you know there is that possibility.  It is always out there waiting for you.  The goal is to keep it at bay as long as possible.

Instead of regaling you with all the gritty details of how much pain I am in currently, I simply want to share this poem and in so doing shut the door to negativity once again.

Hopes for 2011

In this upcoming year may we be ever mindful of those around us,
May we smile in the grocery line,
May we slow down and really see the sales clerk, nurse, mechanic, etc.
May we open a door for a stranger,
May we let a car in our lane.

In this upcoming year may we be ever mindful of those we love,
May we tell them "I love you",
May we slow down and really listen,
May we be courteous,
May we give of ourselves.

In this upcoming year may we be ever mindful of ourselves,
May we cut ourselves some slack,
May we slow down and breathe,
May we allow ourselves some fun,
May we allow ourselves to receive.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent 2010

I did not grow up knowing about the advent season.  I don't think it is part of the Southern Baptist tradition.  Probably too much like the "Catholics".  Just kidding.  I don't know if it is part of their tradition now or not.    For me, Advent is something I have learned about as an adult.  Unfortunately after my first introduction, it became a part of my husband's job, and quite frankly when I heard Advent, I heard "Your husband is going to be busier than normal, if that is possible".  Don't get me wrong, there were seasons where the message got through.  There were years I could feel the meaning.  I am just saying overall, it was part of Jack's work.  This year it is different.  I am not even in church to hear about advent, yet here it is.  This morning I feel it in my soul.  So, here are my thoughts.

Advent is waiting.  Not the fingers drumming, horn honking, hurry up waiting.  It is the heart opening, soul expecting, mind wondering waiting.  It is in this place that we do find hope, joy and peace.  I feel my family has been in this place for the last year.

Jack left the ministry last year the Sunday before Advent.  We have spent part of this year waiting to see what Jack would do.  Would he teach?  Would he be a therapist?  Would he write?  We have spent part of this year waiting to see what our lives would look like.  Would we start having friends over more?   Would we start new hobbies?  How would we spend our new-found free time?     There were many wonderings.  Like who did we want to become?  What do we want to do with the second half of our lives?  What brings us peace?  What brings us joy?

Those of you who know me are probably guffawing at this moment.  You know that I don't wait well.  I tend to worry, get anxious, even panic when I don't have a plan or know what is going on.  I also tend to worry about money quite a bit, especially since I no longer teach.  But you know, this past year, none of those things have entered my mind.  Oh sure, we have thought about money.  But again I would use the word, wonder.  We have wondered how can we make a little more to make it through this "building up" stage of Jack's practice.  This is miraculous.

A sense of calm and peace settled over our family this year.  As we have spent time wondering, exploring, and loving each other, joy has filled our lives.  No, it has not been an easy year.  Yes, we have had some significant trials.  In years past, these dramas would have easily defined the year for me, but not now.  We are still waiting.  We are still wondering.  We are still loving.

What are you waiting for?  What are you wondering about?  Who are you loving?  I pray this advent season finds you.  I pray you are able to open your heart and let the sense of peace, hope and joy enter.  I love you all.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Decorating Part 2

I do love the twinkling lights of Christmas.  I turn my tree on, my wreath and my other tree as soon as I get up in the morning, do you?  I love to see the lights all day long.  I think I may have to think of a way to incorporate lights in my house all year long!

 This is the Gingerbread Garland my mom made many years ago.  I remember being pretty young when she made it.  About 7 or so years ago, my mom gave away several Christmas items to my brothers and me.  This was quite coveted.  But it was the ONLY thing I wanted!  And I won it!  For me it is priceless!
 She sewed all those buttons on my hand and stuffed them all!  She was one patient woman!!!

 This is my Santa collection.  Nothing like my mom's, but I love it.  In fact, most of those Santas came from my mom as gifts!!!  Too funny!
 My large tin collection.  Never really know what to do with them!!
 After a grand Thanksgiving table, I decided to go simple for Christmas.  Plus it will just be the four of us.  I like it!

 This curio cabinet was Jack's Nanny's.  The top Nativity is Allie's.  The second shelf holds the Nativity that Jack got me when we were dating.  And the pewter one my MIL gave several years ago.  The third shelf is awkward and I am not sure how to make it better, but it holds the Santa snack plate and mug. And last are my Dicken's houses!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Decorating Part 1

I love the Christmas season.  Growing up, my mom always decorated every inch of our house.  She adored Christmas.  My mom's dad was a tenant farmer and they had very little.  She remembers one Christmas getting fudge (her mom had made) and an apple for Christmas and being happy about it.  But she wanted more for her children, I guess we all do.  So she went over the top.  Plus, Dad started having an open house every year for the church, at least I guess it was Dad's idea.  So then, we started decorating even more.  Mom and I would wear long skirts and turtleneck sweaters, we would light all the candles and offer tons of goodies.  We have some great stories around those open houses.  Like the year my dad decided to burn the grass the Saturday before the Open house.  Oh, and we had no sidewalk to the front day, so people had to track through the burned grass to get inside.  Oh my, we laugh now, but then....not so much.

When I got married, I married a guy whose family didn't quite celebrate Christmas like me.  In fact, his family put up a tree, a wreath, some stockings and that was about it.  On Christmas Eve, they opened their gifts!  ~gasp~  So, the first clash happened.  "Why do we need a wreath in the bathroom?"  "Why do we need a 6-foot tree when we have this perfectly good 3 footer from college?"  "Santa still visits you???  He still visits your brother?  (who was 25 and married at the time)"  Yes, that first year was interesting.  But over the years we have met in the middle.  I put up a little less, and he puts up with a little more!  Okay, well, you may wonder how I put up yea, this is half of what my mom used to do!  On that note, welcome to our home.

In our entryway, I took an old window which I purchased at the flea market for $1 and hung a Yarn Ball wreath I made on it.  On the table I added my new hurricane jars (I think that is what they are called) which I made with thrift store finds, with snow(Epsom Salts), candy and a candle.  Next is a Snowman box I have had for years.  I found this yarn ball snow man at the thrift store this year for $.50!  And then the lamp atop a tin brings it all together.

As you walk into our den the focal point is our huge fireplace that soars to the ceiling.  I found this wreath at a garage sale about 5 years ago and bought it for $5.  I added a bow and some lights.  This year I was inspired to add balls.  So I bought some large balls at K-Mart on sale for $.50 each.  I think it really dresses up the wreath.

Next I added more vases filled with vintage balls I have had a long time, garland with beads, and the lighted boxes which were gifts over the years.

I picked up this small red sled for $.50 at Goodwill, added a $.25 holly pick and a bow from my stash.  I hung it by the fireplace and really like how it looks.

On one end of the den I tried something new this year.  I put the old rocker in the corner and hung Jack's mom's mirror.  Then I added an old wreath I had and put some balls on it and hung it over the mirror. I really like this look.  The throw was a gift many years ago.

I got these old insulators at an estate sale because they remind me of my mom.  She used to have them all over the house.  So I just arranged them on the side table with some candles, an old bottle and some old McGuffy readers.  Yes, the one on the far left holds pens.  We always need pens when sitting in this chair, so I thought I would "pretty" it up.

On the other side of the room is our tree.  I decorate using ornaments from my childhood, our marriage together, kids' ornaments, places we have gone, and gifts.  I love the eclectic look of a tree. Beside the tree, I hung this great picture.  It is a felt tree from the Dollar Tree, $.50, the frame I got at the thrift store for $.50.  I painted the frame, and the mat and voila!  A piece of artwork for Christmas!

And then the kitchen.  I am having so much fun decorating the kitchen for the seasons!  These columns and plate ledge are fabulous for decorating!  So I took the frames and took out the fall photos and added another felt tree (from the pack I got for the art in the den) in one.  Next I used wrapping paper and cut out ornaments and candy cane shapes.  Looks great!  On the middle column I added an old grater, my camping       coffee pot, and a jar of "lollipops"!  On another column I placed an old feather tree and attached some balls.  On the far column I added my lollipop tree and some Christmas candy to my jars!

And finally I wrapped some tulle around the pillows!  I love my new kitchen!

Sorry for the glitchy photo placements.  Me and blogger don't do photos so great!  I'll work on part 2 and the baking blog post later.  This has taken a while!