Friday, December 31, 2010

My 10 in 2010

JBTC had someone suggest that she give 10 words that described her year in 2010.  I decided to give it a try too.  It wasn't has easy as I thought it might be.  Here's my 10:

Changes, active, productive, involved, quiet,
creative, family, content, weary, tired

Since I'm pretty new at blogging, I don't have posts for most of those words.  Hmm??  Maybe they'll be fodder for future posts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The gift of time

As I lay awake in bed this morning thinking of this post, I was originally going to call it "Everything changes" since things around here are going to be changing for me quite a bit.  After more than two years as a stay at home wife, tomorrow I go back to work full time.  And, if you ask any of the men in my life - DH, Jack the dog, and my dad - they don't like it.  But things change.

I started thinking about how my time off began.  I was still on leave after the death of my mother.  She had fought ovarian cancer for more than five years, but in the end it was too much.  I was tired and mentally and emotionally worn out, so in addition to the time allotted by my company, I had extended my leave.  Then, one week after mom died, I got a call from my boss to dial into a department meeting and give her a call afterwards.  I, along with almost 200 other people, was getting my sixty day notice.  So what did DH and I do?  Celebrate of course!  We went to a local winery, bought a bottle of our favorite, and sat out on the hill overlooking the reservoir and watched the goats.

These past two plus years really have been a gift.  To me. To my husband.  To family, friends, church.  I could be present in ways I hadn't been able to before. 

Only one month after mom died, my sister got married.  And mom promised us, and if you knew her you would believe it, that if the wedding didn't go on she would come back and haunt us.  Thankfully I got at least a portion of her talent for sewing and was able to tailor the flower girl's dress that mom would have done.  And I could be there for my sister when she went to pick up her dress and learn how to bustle it. 

And mom's wasn't the only death our family experienced.  My uncle died suddenly and unexpectedly and my cousin's wife died  six months after mom of the same thing.  I had the time to be able to got to Jane's funeral 600 miles and 3 states away.  My my aunt's grand kids came for visits the following summer I was able to take them to baseball games and to Cedar Point.

I had time to reconnect with my dad.  We had lunch often.  We took drives to Amish country to get cheese and butter and just watch life go by.  We even built a bridge.  And when he took flying lessons at a nearby airport he came over and gave us the scoop on what happened.  I got to know him as I never had before.  What a gift that is!

I had time to do things I like.  Walk the dog.  Read.  Sew.  Learn to make bread.  I finally perfected DH's favorite egg bread.  I made three quilts.  I read, and actually enjoyed, Chesterton.  I discovered a few new authors and read some old favorites. 

But what I treasured the most was the time DH and I had.  We had deep conversations.  And silly, goofy ones as well.  And quiet.  We didn't need to fill up every moment talking because we had time just to be.   One of our favorite things to do, when he is done working for the day, is to sit on the patio with whatever beverage and just watch the world go by.  And lucky for us, that includes humming birds and chickadees and robins and bluebirds and deer and even a hungry snake trying to eat a frog.  DH rescued that frog of course!  And the snake had to find something else for dinner.

I am so grateful for this time I had.  I pray that I can take lessons learned and the relationships formed and keep moving in the right direction.  I want to use my time wisely.  Do what's important and right, not what is expected.  And still be grateful for what I'm doing and where I'm at with the time I'm given.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in pictures

Our Christmas Eve visitors

I'm one half of the Arts & Environment committee at church.  With the help of a whole lot of very talented and very willing people, we had the church decorated in less than 4 hours.  I think it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

Our tree.  Probably the best one yet.

Jack removing the tag off one of his presents.  It seems to be his favorite part of getting a new toy.

The lights on his collar illuminate, but it's hard to tell from this picture.  He's so darn cute I just had to include it though.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very joyous and blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not-so-aliens visit

Well, the alien visit was successful and and good time was had by all.  And maybe they're not so alien after all.  The twins are very articulate, more so than most other two year olds I've met.  The oldest is as smart as a whip; not a shy bone in his body.

DH showed them the manger and told them the navity story.  The kids did a wonderful job of rearranging everyone.  It's much more cozy now!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Aliens among us

Our friends Michael & Jean are coming over for dinner tonight along with their kids.   They have three kids, Julian, who is 5 1/2, and twins Dylan and Olivia, who are 27 months.  In the previous post I had said I would have liked to be able to say I had a whole bunch of kids.  But what I realized this week as I was getting ready for their visit is that I don't know children.  Not at all. What do they like to do?  What do they eat?  What toys are age appropriate?  Will they freak out when they see my 110 pound dog?  When shopping for Christmas gits for kids is it okay to buy yourself some toys too?

Because of circumstances we haven't seen them in over a year.  And it was at their house.  With their toys and food and pets.  We'll see how I do this year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What are we doing wrong?

In TCIE's post the other day she asked "What are we doing wrong? Why aren't our prayers heard?"  After reading everyone's else's responses, I thought mine came across as a bit trite.  I didn't mean it as that.  It is what I believe though. 

I'm a forty-something year old wife to my glorious husband of twelve plus years.  If I had my way, I would have also said I'm a mother of this great bunch of children who have their parents' good looks and their father's brains and their mother's love of crafts and small animals.  But, I guess God had other plans for me.  Sometimes I wonder what they are and other times it seems so crystal clear.  This I know: I am where I need to be at this moment.

We're not doing anything wrong.  We aren't being punished for some known or unknown transgression.  And God does hear our prayers.  Maybe we don't get an answer.  Maybe we do and don't like it.  I do know that if I didn't believe in God I'd probably be pretty nuts by now.  If there wasn't a bigger purpose to what we do with our time here, then shouldn't anything go? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Everything but the kitchen sink

Hopefully this isn't too late.  Leila suggested we show how we made our kitchen sinks pretty.  I started putting the Mikasa plate on the sill above the sink a couple of Christmases ago and last year I added the lights.  I just love it when it gets dark.

The grapes over the window are something previous owner did and we're hoping to replace them soon.  They're just cut outs from a wallpaper border.  You can see some of the snow we've gotten over the last couple of days.

This is the plate lit up at night.  We've collected a varitey of Holy Family items over the year.  Holy Family has been special to us as it was the name of the church where we met and were married.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Things that make me smile

This past August we had the opportunity to attend the GK Chesterton conference at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Wow!  That's the best way to describe it.  It was a most amazing experience.  I was all prepared to feel inadequate and unprepared as I listened to the different lectures.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The speakers were brilliant but down to earth.  They were accessible.  So many times when you attend something like this the person comes in, gives their talk, maybe shakes a few hands afterwards, and then is wisked out, never to be seen again.  Not so here.  The speakers stayed around to hear others speak.   We sat with a couple of them in the audience and chatted before and after other speakers.  We drank beer with them at the Friday evening social.  One of the speakers was our suite-mate in the dorms.  I can't count the number of times we ran into Dale Ahlquist walking to or from the dorms to the lecture hall.  What a great man - brilliant, as nice as can be, with the funniest sense of humor.

And we took their pictures.  Or at least in the case of Fr. Peter Milward, the back of his head.  He was sitting in front of us during Chuck Chalberg's presentation as Chesterton.   Yesterday we got an early Christmas present.  The cover of the latest issue of Gilbert Magazine was published on their website.  They used DH's picture!  He's now a published photographer.  Yeah!  I am so, so proud of him.

“When giving treats to friends or children, give them what they like, emphatically not what is good for them.” – The Chesterton Review, February, 1984 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's a start

I write such great posts in my head at 4am when I just can't sleep.  If only I could remember it now!

OK, first things first.  I've thought about doing this for a while but didn't think I'd have much to say.  But, confession time - I was envious.  Yes, envious of all you who have prayer buddies.  What could be better?  One person praying just for me, and me just for someone else.  Well, I'd get the better part of that deal no doubt.  So, next time prayer buddies come around I'm ready.  Until then I'll continue to pray for "my ladies".

And I thought a little more about what I could write.  I read such wonderful posts, written with such gut wrenching honesty.  You ladies share your most intimate thoughts and desires and pain as well as your joy.  What could I bring to that?  Maybe it's that buring desire to be a mother doesn't get answered with a sweet bundle of joy that turns your life upside down and makes you giddy with lack of sleep.  Maybe it's that God has some other plan for you that doesn't include children.  Maybe it's that even if the ache in your arms to hold your own baby never goes away you'll still be okay.  You can go through the tests and the drugs and the surgeries and the big fat negatives and sill come out sane.  Mostly.