December 29, 2010

A Melancholy Day

Today seems like the end of...well I don't know what to call it.  But it's kinda sad.  There are a lot of different emotions tied up in this day and I think it will continue to haunt a few of us for a while.  Anyway, it is out of my hands and influence so there's not much I can do about it...not that I could before but I tried.  I really did.

Sometimes I don't know what to say

Caution; Personal, and perhaps tedious meanderings!  Danger of incoherent flow of thought.

When life happens and the consequences are confusing and I see hurt in my daughters' eyes, sometimes I don't know what to say.  It's true; although there are those of you who will have a hard time believing such a thing.  Of course there's the comfort of prayer and the standard "leave it at the Cross", but sometimes that doesn't look or feel very real to a person who's been hurt.  I often ponder how I can help in a situation where the feelings of another can't be understood.  I know what you're thinking...Who am I that I need to know or fix things?  Well, I'm a mom, that's what we do. 
We encourage and train without breaking the will and spirit God has given our children. And we want to help them through the difficulties as we train them to face trials in the future.  If we break their will and their spirit to mold them into what we want them to become, sooner or later, they're going to turn on what we've taught them with scorn because it's our belief but it's not real to them.  They can parrot back the correct answers or tell us what we want to hear to avoid punishment or controversy but they can't figure out how to use it for themselves because our training was one of rules and punishment or rituals that show the world that we've raised perfect, godly children but didn't give them the foundation they needed to handle life on their own.

Many times the conclusion I come to is that folks aren't raised with the courage to be honest.  They don't know how to talk.  Airing dirty laundry is forbidden.  Parents often feel that they should be obeyed without question and while there's some merit it that approach, it doesn't explain to the wondering minds of our children why things must be that way.  It's easier to hurt someone than it is to be open and talk about things that may make them...or us...uncomfortable. Of course there are those who will never admit that they've done something hurtful and will try to turn it into some shortcoming of yours or make light of your feelings because they believe they are superior in one or many ways.  You know...they have their image to protect.  But the truth is that they are just sinners like you or me and although they may put on a good show, a fly on the wall would see right past all the facade to the real person underneath.  But, I digress...

How do we take the comfort of the Bible and turn it into real life; into something that we can apply to our lives on a daily basis and give understanding of to our children so they can go on to live a life for Christ because that's what they believe, not a meaningless set of rules they've followed because we demanded it of them? 

When they look around at the world, it may not seem fair that they try so hard and yet a blatant sinner is blessed while they are hurting.  That others have what they would like to have in possessions or relationships or status.  Or that someone could be so hurtful or inconsiderate or dishonest.  But God never promised us a life free from the hurtfulness of others.  Only that He would give us what we need when we need it, walk beside us through life and carry us through adversity.  But still, the struggle comes when we don't understand what's happening.  Or why?  Sound familiar?

December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve results

Lovely!  As always.

December 24, 2010

Melancholy Christmas Meanderings

It's 3 AM on Christmas Eve Morn and I'm wide awake.  This is not a good thing because I have so much to do tomorrow/today and I know it's going to be a long night.  We've been practicing an old German Christmas custom in our home for the past 27 years; one I've enjoyed most of my life.  Father Christmas brings our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve after the children have gone to bed.  My girls have loved waking to the treat of their first glimpse of the tree on Christmas Day.  That was a gift in itself.  It's been fun even though Mr. Scrooge, who lives here too, has never enjoyed sharing in this tradition from my childhood and tried to sap my joy every one of those past Christmas Eves.  Now that the girls are older, it seems that other things are pulling on our time at Christmas and I resent the urge to change our tradition to allow for more modern or should I say less traditional activities.  But this tradition of Christmas is one they don't want to give up even though they will help with the trimming now that they are older.  Since they are helping keep the tradition alive now, it's even more fun because I have someone who shares my enthusiasm for the magical feeling of the Christmas ornaments from their childhood. Strings of wooden beads mixed with twinkling lights, real candles lightly clipped to the tips of the branches to be lit for one anxious moment while Scrooge looks on with trepidation and warnings, ruining any chance for one peaceful, magical moment of contemplation.  We no longer hang the silver strings of icicles on the tree because I got so tired of listening to the complaints even though he never touched one icicle, either to put them on or take them off the tree.  Some people just never have the's so sad.
Here's my itinerary for the day.  Preparing as much of tomorrow's Christmas feast in advance as I can.  We're going to be spending the day here at home and I'm ever so thankful for that.  We'll be celebrating with family on the 26th.  So, we're having a Middle Eastern style feast including leg of lamb, spinach balls, tabbouleh, haroset, rice pudding, hummus and baba ghanooge, flat bread and spumoni.  I'm really looking forward to it!  If I had more time or had planned ahead, I would have added more to the spread with lamb stew and stuffed grape leaves; a favorite here.  And then there's spinach flats and stuffed mouth is watering!  But I had to be reasonable with my menu so we'll have those things another time.  Or maybe we'll just add another dish to the menu every day.
Next is last minute wrapping, then Christmas Eve service (the girls and a couple friends are doing a ribbon stick "dance" as part of the service) and Chinese for dinner.  And last, the trimming of the tree.  We're clinging to our past and hoping for more good memories but life seems to have a way of pulling us into another time.  The girls and I will have fun with it.  We'll break out a bottle of sparkling cider and a few Christmas goodies to share while we listen to Christmas songs.  Scrooge will consider it his gift to us to be in the same room watching the proceedings with contempt.  The we'll each open a gift, always a new pair of pajamas, and say "Good Night!"
That's our hope...but I think the tree trimming will be moved to earlier in the day to avoid too many grumpy remarks and because I am now wide awake and don't foresee getting much more sleep in the meantime.  When we brought the tree inside so it could thaw and put it in the stand, I, in my haste, put a deep gash in my hand that will slow me down a little today.  Resisting the urge to get a few stitches, I pulled it together with a butterfly bandage and some of my homemade salve and I think it will be fine if I can keep it dry. 
We'll still have fun and it is, after all, still the birth of our Saviour but I'll miss those bright little faces full of excitement and magic as they peak into the living room after our traditional breakfast casserole and the Christmas story to see the tree for the very first time.  But I pray that I'll always be able to see them in my mind from memories of Christmas Past.  I guess I'm just wishing time would slow down and waxing nostalgic as I sit here in the dark...remembering.

December 23, 2010

A Christmas Blessing

I've been fighting with my gas range for about 12+ months.  My side slowly losing ground.  After battles that have been growing in length over the past 3 months, it has finally won the fight and refuses to light the oven at all.  The stove is about 18 years old and I know I should just give up hope that I can salvage it.  I spoke with a reliable repairman who has sold and serviced our appliances for the past 28 years.  He told me that if he could even find the parts, it would be expensive to repair the tune of $175-$275 plus labor depending on what was wrong and even then he couldn't guarantee that it would fix the problem.  Very disappointing.  The very last thing we needed this Christmas was another major expense.
But if we were going to have Christmas dinner, something had to be done.  We went shopping to see just how much a new gas range would set us back...yikes!  As we looked at one of the major stores in the area, the salesman asked us about our reason for this major purchase so close to the holidays...was it a gift?  We explained and he told us that he had been a repairman and had fixed lots of stoves with "symptoms" just like ours.  He gave us the number for the parts distributor and told us what to order.  About $75.  The part came in 2 days.  I had it installed within 20 minutes of it hitting the porch!  I told the girls to pray and I held my breath as I turned the knob.  Voila!  The oven lit in a very short time and we were back in business! 
I know that the man who helped us works on commission and forfeited what he would have made on our purchase.  I called to thank him and let him know that we will seek him out when we reach a point where we need to make an appliance purchase.
I'm saying a prayer of thanks for this man and his generous heart at this time of year when everyone could use a few extra dollars.  What a huge blessing this stranger was to us this holiday season!

Again, God bless us every one!

December 18, 2010

You never know

Life can be surprising, to be sure.  Sometimes pleasantly so and sometimes not.  When it comes to reaching out to others, I think I should go with my gut instinct.  There's something about a hurting soul that can be so clear and then it can be so hidden that you don't want to assume anything and you let it go. 
I'm feeling the regret of not following my instincts over the past months.  Looking back, I can see several indicators that should have been a tip off knowing what I know now.  But at the time, I just thought that maybe it was a tender spirit that needed to talk a little and I listened and encouraged without actually doing anything.  But I always had this nagging feeling that there was more to the story than meets the eye. Turns out it was someone in need of help.  Thankfully, the thoughts came out in another arena and were very clear this time.  Intervention was done and I'm hoping some love and understanding will mend this heart.
But from the outside looking in, I never would have guessed at the depth of the hurt.  Yes, I knew it was there and having been through some pretty hurtful things myself, I thought I should do more but wasn't sure of my place.  I'm kicking myself now and praying that I won't make that mistake again.  Better to step out of bounds and be put back than to watch from the safety of my little box while someone thinks about taking serious actions to end their pain, even though I didn't know that and do nothing for fear I'll step on someone's toes.  Much better.  And if I make a fool of myself or lose friends, who cares if I've helped a friend in need.   Who cares if I try to help even when there isn't a problem.  Right now, not me. 

Sometimes a brave soul can only bear to give out little hints at the misery they are facing because they don't want anyone to think they can't handle it or that they are not trusting God.  But that brave soul wrapped in one of the nicest personalities you could meet, might have a tender heart inside that needs some love and attention.  And if they don't get it from the people they expected to get it from, they can't see their own worth.  Wow!, that hits closer to home than I care to think about.  The pain is clearer to me now and I'm wondering why I didn't realise what was happening. Or why I hesitated when I suspected there might be more to it.  I'm so tired of second guessing myself.  Call it intuition, or gut instinct, or insight; I'm willing to admit that it all comes from God so why do I drag my feet?

To God be the glory for the answer to this hurting soul that kept them from harm.  I'm prayerfully asking to be a better part of their lives; one that stops thinking about what someone else might think and just follows my gut.  Dear Lord, guide my heart in the way it should go and make me more keenly aware of the times when I need to be a reflection of you or even a physical you to someone in need and give me the courage to just do it.  For them and me.


December 16, 2010

South and back again

E's last final was on Tuesday so we left home around 8AM to drive to VA to bring her home for the holiday break.  Two other students will be riding back with us on Wednesday.

As we left home, the temp was 18 and the wind was picking up.  Snow on the ground of course but the weather channel was calling for snow over most of the eastern US.  Our route took us over the mountain and at the top, the temp was 4!  The roads were wet and in those temps that means icy so we made decent time but were driving slower than normal.  And then, eureka!  We crossed into Maryland and the weather became sunny!  Not any warmer but a little more cheery.  We were blessed with clear roads all the way to VA.  The winds continued to increase and we felt like we might actually lift off a couple times! 

Arrived at college around 3:30 and met E at her dorm.  We decided to load most of her stuff into the car while it was daylight.  Wondered if we'd have room for the other two students! :) 
She had some farewell plans with a few friends so we went to a friends house for chili.  It was wonderful and made me warm on the inside!  She is such a blessing to us!  The car was white from all the road salt so we found a car wash with a drier.  The ramp into the wash was frozen so we actually had to use A4WD to get inside...wonder what the southerners do?  We slid out the other side.

After E and her friends came back to campus and she helped her room mate pack her car, we drove to the extra parking lot...the pick them up.  We all went to the basement of the central building on campus to "hang out" and meet some of her friends.  Well, when the guys got there, everyone decided that we should hang out at the student union, which is across campus, instead so they promptly decided to ride the bus and took us with them. 
So we went to the student union and spent a few hours playing Apples to Apples with a group of guys and gals.  It was fun and nice to meet the faces we've seen in pictures.  But as it got closer to 10PM, we thought we should turn in for the night.  So we went to the other end of the building to wait for the bus back to our car.  The schedule said it should be there about 10 after... no bus.  We were relieved to see one coming and ran out to get on quickly...the temp was 15 and windy!  Alas! was out of service but told us another would be along in 3 minutes.  So...40 minutes later as the crowd waiting for the bus grew, we decided it wasn't coming.  So H and I bundled up and started walking.  The shortcut through the stadium was closed so we lost a little time there and had to go out and around it.  Even being a hunter from PA didn't make this trek easier.  Because at home, I'm smart enough not to go out in weather like this!  We were froze by the time we got back to the car which took us about 30 minutes.  I thought my lungs would explode!  I don't recommend a hike like that if you're anemic. 
After we stopped shivering, we went back to the union to pick up the others.  Silly college kids wanted to stay so we took one fellow and E back to their dorms.  The others walked back later!  Not even smart enough to wear hats or warm coats!  I feel old!
Fell into bed and eventually warmed up.  Wasn't sure if the ache in my chest was just cold or what but was thankful to wake up in the morning feeling better. 
We were treated to home made Belgian waffles!  Wonderful...Santa, I'd like to have a waffle maker for Christmas!
Went back to campus to get E and find the other students to load their things.  Being the master packer that I I sound a little prideful?...we got it all in the back with only one casualty.  The dish that Tim's pet snail calls home slipped out and smashed on the pavement.  After Sarah ran back to her room to get a cup for Luther to ride in, we started for home.  It was a fairly uneventful ride with kids crashing and me driving.  Then we had a few rounds of caroling, 20 questions and listened to a bit of Radio Theater's The Screwtape Letters to break it up.  Stopped once for gas, made a pit stop around 1:30 and another around 4.  Made it home by 5:45!  It's good to be here.
We brought all the "stuff" in from the car so we didn't have to go out again and sat down to dinner that Tom had made for us. 
Many thanks for all the prayers, safety and fair weather.  It's good to have Goosie home and not have to worry about cramming everything we want to do into a few days. I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday but who am I kidding?  Plans for Narnia with friends this weekend, a little shopping, baking- if I can get the oven to work- and finishing the decorating now that E is here to be a part of it.  Good times! 

December 13, 2010


It's been a tough week.  This may sound a little insensitive but I think most wives out there can understand what I'm saying.  We tend to get used to a certain schedule and our own plans to get through the day...and then, for whatever reason, the husband is home for the day...or the week.  Need I say more?  Suddenly everything changes, all your plans are shot, the minute you start to do a job, they need you.  Not for anything important...just to get something for them or find something for them...things that belong to them and all at once, it's your fault if they can't find it!  And the worst part is that when you go to the place you told them to look but they couldn't find it, THERE IT IS! exactly where you thought it should be!!!!  And when you take it to them with a look that says it all, they say, "Oh, now where did you find it?"  When you tell them it was right where you told them, they say, "It couldn't have been.  I just looked there."  About that time the hair on the back of my neck begins to prickle and the corners of my mouth begin to twitch.  I unsuccessfully attempt a small smile and turn away quickly to return to my previous job...but, alas...there's more!  Could you get my slippers?  What's for lunch?  What are you doing?  Have you seen my glasses?  When are you going to do...?  Could you...?  Now, it's one thing if they're sick or hurt but COME ON!   My sympathy and compassion are waning. Could they bring their dishes to the sink after eating in front of the TV watching movies they've seen a dozen times or put things away after they've used them?  Suck it up, Nancy!  The doctor said you should move around and move!  Believe it or not, people have lives to live, things to do, other people, WHO ARE STILL CHILDREN, to help and teach!  And it's Christmas with all the extra things I'd like to do.
And my all time favorite from this man who can usually make me laugh, is when he calls me back into the room immediately after I've completed several of these tasks, when he thinks I've almost reached the place where I started and innocently asks, "How far do you think you'd have been if I hadn't called you back?" Grrrrrr! I plead temporary insanity!
Thank you for listening while I vent and thank God for this new week!!!

We'll covet your prayers as my youngest and I travel to Virginia tomorrow to bring my eldest home from college.  We'll be returning the following day.  The forecast isn't favorable so I'm praying for fair traveling conditions and safety.  I do love snow and I can handle driving in it but I worry about other drivers.  Especially those who are not used to driving in snowy conditions.

December 11, 2010


From reading my posts in the past, I'm sure you know what a love we have for the theater.  Little Bit is playing in "A Christmas Carol" this season at college.  That's about 7 hours from here so it was a real blessing to be able to go down to see the show.  It was amazing!  I'm so proud of her!  There's no way I can describe the play with words and do it justice.  So many lovely costumes!  She had at least 4 that I can remember.  Dancing, singing and flying spirits!  Wonderful!  I'm so very glad we were able to see it!

My youngest is playing in "It's A Wonderful Life!" here at home.  Also a wonderful performance with the 6 show run being sold out every night!  It always amazes me that a little community theater in a small town in the middle of rural PA can bring together such a great cast with costuming and sets that really "set the stage" for a show that's sure to please.  One of the players in this show comes from Indiana, PA which is about 45 miles from here and happens to be Jimmy Stewart's home town.  To commemorate his contributions to the screen and to our country through his stint in the armed forces in the midst of his acting career, the town started a Jimmy Stewart museum years ago.  As the memory of this great actor is replaced by more recent stars, the museum has seen a decline in attendance that threatens to force them to close their doors.  After each performance at our theater, donations have been accepted on behalf of the museum.  The story has even made the local and national news.  Folks are taking up the cause and helping George Bailey one more time.  A very touching tale.
The director of "It's A Wonderful Life!" and one of the players are employed in areas that work with folks who have various mental and physical challenges.  The last dress rehearsal was dedicated to a show just for them.  About 50 folks from various homes in the area were escorted to the theater and they enjoyed the show very much.  It was very sweet to hear stories of their appreciation and to hear the impact that their presence had on the cast.  I'm so proud of our little theater and how they've reached out to the community in so many ways this holiday season. 
Tonight's the last show for both plays and it's been a rewarding experience for the girls and me, as their mom.

What a privilege to see both of them doing what they love and hearing them talk about how they'll use their love of theater to reach out in one way or another to help people.

December 10, 2010

Why am I so scared?

When things don't turn out the way I want them to;
Why am I so scared?

If everything falls through that I've planned to do;
Why am I so scared?

If I need some assurance but can't find my cue;
Why am I so scared?

When the bills mount and I don't know what to do;
Why am I so scared?

Because I try to manage it all alone instead of holding my Father's hand.

Been a while

It's been awhile since I've been here.  Lots going on and lots to try to deal with so I guess I'll just write about a few.

My husband fell on the ice and jammed his spine.  He's been off work for this week trying to loosen things up so he can move comfortably again. He really didn't need any other health issues to deal with.  Things have been hard for him for about 10 years.  He could use a break.
Of course the usual head colds and dryness that comes with the season.  It's kinda unusual for us to have such cold temps so early but we've had a lot of teens and expecting single digits next week. 
My youngest and I will be traveling to VA to bring Goosie back for a month long break over the holidays.  Praying for safe travel down and back and no car problems. 

It sounds like Goosie's used computer is shot and we'll have to get her a new one.  That's quite disappointing.  Her hard earned money down the drain.  It's given her trouble almost from day one so that's a lesson learned the hard way and generating a bit of ill will.  Not sure where the means to purchase it will come from but she's already been one semester without a computer so she really needs to have one to take back for next semester.  Makes things really hard when you have to trek across campus just to check your email which she's required to do every day. We purchased a camera for our computer so we could skype with her but were only able to do it twice.  It will be really nice to have her home so we can see her.  I think there was more than one lesson here.

My younger cousin passed away and the funeral is today.

So, yeah...I'm just a bundle of glad tidings, huh?

Sometimes I feel like I really don't have much to say and no creativity to write or even talk I don't and it's not a good thing.  All the stuff that just keeps running around in my head doesn't go away; it can't find it's way out and grows until I feel like I'm suffocating.  But, I just need to give it over and let God before I burst.  No more than I can handle, right?  Thank you, Jesus!


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