Close but No Cigar
Sang Dawson after spotting the wisemen making their journey across my parents' yard, "We three queens of glory and tar..."
Sang Dawson after spotting the wisemen making their journey across my parents' yard, "We three queens of glory and tar..."
(Feel free to sing this to the tune of Jingle Bells)
Dashing through the year
In a new house built by hand
With four kids by our sides
Our precious little band
Too many tales to tell
Adventures big and small
Blessings are too many to count
Among them are you all
Oh, Mackenzie’s in the fourth grade now
She really likes to spell
An excellent help to mommy
And she plays piano so well
Aiden’s conquering first grade
With dimples and red hair
Most days his shirt’s on backwards
But he remembers his underwear
Dawson’s still at home
And he didn’t find it cool
When in October he turned five
And he still could not start school
Maximilian’s nearly two
And after lots of therapy
He’s learned to crawl and walk
Oh, I went back to teach this year
Thank God it’s just one class
Even though I’m having fun
It’s quite a daunting task
None of this could be done
Without Nelson by my side
His work and business ventures
Make for quite an exciting ride
Oh, life is full, that is true
This is how it has to be
But God is good this is no lie
It’s so easy to see
We hope He blesses you this year
In every kind of way
We wish you a Merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year…hey!
I was standing in the kitchen this morning cleaning up from breakfast when Aiden walked around the corner and saw me. "Wow Mama!" he noticed. "Your hair really looks good put back like that."
Stunned for a moment, I stood still as he came closer. "Aww," I gushed as I swept him up into my arms, "Thanks buddy. That's so sweet."
Dawson was watching from the table and suddenly piped in. "Well, I think you look really pretty in those clothes."
My brothers are back in town and all of them were over tonight...just to hang out. Of course, it wasn't long before stories of internet humor were being compared. And then it happened...the four of us gathered around Nelson in his recliner to watch the following clip. We were literally rolling on the floor, laughing until we cried. Now, it could have been the late hour mixed with the cocktails the guys were enjoying but seriously, it is pretty funny. Watch for the guy in the afro...FUNNY.
This is the time of year I'm always kicking myself for waiting until the last minute to do all the things that need to be done.
I do have really good excuses this year. Going back to work and having to grade a multitude of 8 page term papers put a little crunch on my available hours to prepare.
Consequently, I'm left with a rather hefty list of things to do this week. I hate it. I always have visions of sitting in front of the tree with cocoa in hand, just watching the lights twinkle. That doesn't usually happen much until after Christmas day.
Today though, something occurred to me - it's not Christmas yet. This is the season of Advent. It's a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. This, by the way, is exactly what I’m doing.
When the Christmas season arrives, it will be a time to take things easy and relax for a bit. It will be a time to soak in the glory of our Savior's birth. There WILL be time to sit simply to watch the lights glow and ponder the blessings I've been given. It will be peaceful and joyful and nice.
But for now, I've got to get back to work. There are many preparations for such a big birthday party. I will work until the work is done because this is the season to do just that.
Three more days of hard work and then...then there will be time to sit.
It's a short one so PLEASE hang in there until the chorus. Wait for it. Watch that face. Hilarious!
While waiting to chat with Mackenzie's teacher today I was looking at the bulletin board display in the hallway. Every cute little face in her class was stapled up next to a heart.
I found Mackenzie's and almost melted when I saw that she had written "I will give Jesus my heart," on it. The heart had ribbon and a bow wrapped around it and some other sweet images. I was so proud.
My gaze then moved on to the other hearts. Most were simply pictures with no words at all. Some said things like, "I will give my voice to Him," and "Thank you Jesus for Christmas." I was feeling very blessed to be the mother of the one kid who thought to write about giving Jesus her heart.
And then I saw it - a heart belonging to a boy that said, "I will give Jesus my heart." "How sweet," I thought, "there is another child with such tenderness towards Jesus." Then I gazed at the picture drawn on the heart. The scene accompanying his heart was a bloody battle scene. I'm talking men kneeling behind barricades with guns and others with blood pouring out of their chests.
Being the mother of one girl and three boys I totally got it but laughed all the way out the door at the difference.
In my family one tradition we adhere to pretty religiously is Sunday brunch. This afternoon as Dawson was coloring...again...he asked, "Are we going to have brunch at Bama's this week?"
"I don't know buddy," I answered.
"But we haven't had it in so long," he moaned.
"Well we had Uncle Brian's birthday and Dampa's birthday and Bama took us to IHOP one time," I countered.
"But when are we going to have brunch at Bama's house?" he whined again.
"It's a busy time of year. I don't know."
"What's up with that?" he countered, to which I had no response because I was too busy laughing at his.
Dad, thanks for all of the adventures. Thanks for your ever willingness to serve. Thank you for being here for us - for my kids. I hope this year you get the chance to enjoy someone serving you for a change. I love you!
Today while I was grading tests, Dawson joined me at the table. He was coloring up a storm. "Mama," he asked me with big bright eyes, "do you know why I like coloring so much?"
"Because I'm good at it. Very, very good at it," he said with total confidence.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:4-7)
This was the second reading at mass today and hearing it almost made me cry. It is full of hope, full of promise, full of peace. It is everything Advent represents.
What do I have to worry about? God's got it under control.
These days Dawson is insistent that every new project be photographed for posterity. This one he was especially proud of as it was almost as long as he is. Of course, Max wanted in on the action too.
This, ladies and gentlemen, took all night to accomplish. It was a work of art indeed - worthy of remembering.
Tonight as we were eating dinner I read out of our Advent book. Granted, this is no easy task - eating and reading at the same time. However, the silence around the table is totally worth the lukewarm food.
Tonight's story was of St. Lucia and boy, oh boy did the eyes get wide at the tale of her demise. When I finished the story, I put down the book and the questions ensued.
Tender-hearted Dawson chimed in first. "Mama, did they really kill her?"
"Yes, bud, they did," I said, hoping this would not drive him to tears.
"Why did they kill her?" Aiden asked on the heels of my response.
"Well, a long time ago," I explained, "people were very afraid of Jesus and the power that he had so they made it against the law to believe in him. If they asked you if you believed in Jesus and you said yes, they would kill you."
"I'm afraid so."
"Well is she in Heaven?" Dawson wanted to know.
"Yes, indeed. She is a saint in Heaven," I assured him.
"So," Aiden said as I saw the wheels turning, "she is a saint because she died?"
"Not exactly. She is a saint because she was a holy woman who died for Jesus. We call these people martyrs."
"Okay," he said with a big smile, "I want to be one of those."
Tonight, on the rare occasion of Nelson and I actually eating alone, we had the opportunity for lengthy discussions...just him...and me. It was a gift from a dear friend who offered her time to watch my kids for a few hours so I could finally get to grading the research papers that have been hanging over my head for the past month.
"While I'm here," she offered as I grabbed the papers and my keys, "why don't you and Nelson go out for dinner?"
I was amazed and in awe of her generous offer. It is no easy task to cook dinner while entertaining four little ones but she insisted and so I accepted.
As I sat in the coffee shop grading my papers, I was amazed at the self-sacrificing nature of others. There are actually people out there who are in it to help others simply because they want to. Not because they are paid or have anything to gain, but because, out of the kindness of their hearts, they choose to put others before themselves.
The Advent season is a good time to dwell on this. Think of Mary, young and virginal. Think about poor, unsuspecting Joseph. Think about our Savior, born in a stable and placed in a manger. Seems putting others before yourself is a prevalent theme this time of year.
And now I'm wondering, what I will do to put others before myself during this busy season. How will I lay down my itinerary for someone else's needs?
How will you?
Today at mass I was struck by an unexpected sadness. Our pastor has recently taken a very unexpected leave of absence. The parish was so surprised that the bishop came to us last weekend to try to comfort us.
We lost a holy man of God, arguably the best homilist in the diocese. A man we had over for dinner a few weeks prior to his departure. He ate with us and spent hours talking with us and giving us counsel. He did not speak like a man who was debating taking a break from the priesthood. He gave no indication of problems.
And then, just like that, he was gone. And this morning the reality of the whole situation hit home and I felt sad.
As the mass went on a calm security snuck up on me. The visiting pastor stopped before the consecration so that "we might all ponder the miracle that was about to take place in front of our eyes."
As I knelt there in that church, I could no longer muster up the sadness that overwhelmed me before. Regardless of the choices of my former pastor, I was still going to receive the Body of Christ. Regardless of the entertaining qualities of his homily, Jesus was still there.
Suddenly, I was in love with my faith all over again. No matter the music, no matter the church building, no matter the presiding priest, the miracle is still the same. And, it is the same here in Augusta, GA as it is in Rome, Italy. It always has been and always will be.
Instead of leaving church bitter or upset, I left feeling very grateful to be a part of a faith that is bigger than the people passing it on. Not bad for the second Sunday of Advent.
If you're still out there and you're still tuning in, please don't give up on me. Our computer is proving to be a challenge these days. I am currently typing on a minimized screen that I have to move around in order to see the words. Yeah, no fun.
It is also moving at a snail's pace. It makes making the effort to record my memories all the more challenging.
If nothing else, it's making me less attached to this blasted thing. I will, however, not let this thing win. I will record these memories if it kills me!
Hope you're having a happy Advent.
Today I got to see a Christmas tree decorated beautifully. Every ornament was in the same two color families. There were red wooden beads hanging from the branches. It looked like something out of a Pottery Barn catalog.
This evening we gathered as a family to decorate our tree. We each have our own box of ornaments collected over the years. We all have ornaments that have been handmade. I'm talking the over-sized, hang in the back of the tree variety. We also ornaments from all the places we've traveled, ornaments that represent every hobby we've ever tried, ornaments noting pregnancies, ornaments with our names plastered on them.
In short, what I realized tonight as I gazed at my family's faces glowing in the tree lights is that that tree is our history. It shows me who we are, how we've grown, where we've been. And that is why I think our tree is the most beautiful of all.