Thursday, November 30, 2006

TIME IS FLYING!...since I last wrote, we have been to Franklin, TN to visit one of our daughters and her family. Life seems to get quite busy. I always have such mixed feelings at this time of year. It reminds me of past Christmases with family members who are either no longer alive or who were healthier, times when our family was together instead of spread all over the world, times when old friends were closer geographically.

The harder I try to maintain some family traditions, the more difficult it seems to be. I miss them and more than that, I miss the people we made them with. We had very few traditions, but they were ours--pizza on Christmas eve; reading scripture together on Christmas Eve (often after a Christmas Eve service); opening gifts on Christmas Eve, enjoying some unexpected gift concoction that Christy would come up with (one year it was anonymously delivered gifts with names on wrong gifts revealed after we opened them:); I liked the fruitcake tradition that was started when we lived in Jamaica, but the family really didn't. It was like no other fruitcake you have eaten because i dislike candied fruit, so I substituted dried fruit for it and put it in a dark fruitcake cake batter. In Jamaica, it seemed that EVERYONE made fruitcake and soaked it in rum or brandy (ugh! to the brandy ones). i really liked mine. Now it seems like so much effort for so little enjoyment. I may try it one more time, but it hardly seems worth the effort when everyone seems to complain about it. i guess to me, it is a memory of a wonderful time of my life (along with others) where I learned a lot, when our babies were coming and they were learning so much, of Robbie and Judy and Jennifer and Michael and Jeff and Miriam and Bobbie and Marilyn and Walford and Jenn and a LOT of good times and patient people!

Come to think of it, that may be what the many traditions we have at Christmas do for us...they remind us of the people who started them with us, or the ones who passed them down to us or the people we shared them with. Maybe that is why it is so hard to get rid of the really useless ones. I guess when we are developing the Christmas traditions we will use in our family...or which ones we will continue to keep and which we will jettison, it is good to think about what we really are passing on. Which are the traditions that pass on the true meaning of Christmas to our children/grandchildren? Those we will want to keep. Which contradict what we WANT to pass on about Christmas, Advent and Christ's first Coming? We will need to jettison those. What new traditions can we start that will make it clearer to our children/grandchildren...and ourselves, what Christmas is all about? Maybe this Christmas is the year to start some of them.

So as you can tell, I get very sentimental this time of year. I rebel against all the rushing and hurrying to get the perfect gift. We already have it--Christ! I don't take enough time to stop and enjoy Him and the complete sufficiency of the gift He gave us of Himself and His substitutionary death on the cross for our sin...and of course, His powerful resurrection from the dead and victory over sin and death.

God help you as you seek to worship Him this year with your Christmas celebrations.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

WHAT AN EVENTFUL TWO WEEKS!...I won't be able to cover all that has happened the last two weeks, but it has been very eventful. One major event was that our Leadership Team of ten women met for the first time a week ago Wednesday night. The meeting went very well and I was excited to see the caliber of women I will be working with. They are great! Only one was missing and she had a double whammy that day--the impending birth of her third grandson (following the stillbirth of her second one about 1 1/2 yrs. ago) and her recovery from thyroid surgery that was starting to go south that day. The next day, her grandson was born safe and sound, but she ended up in the hospital with a very high blood pressure and possible stroke. Fortunately, after a few days of tests, medication changes, ruling out of some very bad diagnoses, a day of physical therapy and discharge, she has no diagnosis, but in many ways is improving. She still has a paralyzed lower leg, severe headache and weakness but overall is improving. Since all the follow-up appointments are after thanksgiving (including physical therapy) she will be going to Kansas City to give support to her daughter who will be having surgery there next week.
I was able to spend much of Monday at the hospital with her and parts of some other days when her husband needed to do various errands. It sounds like I'm really sacrificing doesn't it? Well, I'm not. She is my friend and I have enjoyed the chance to be with her. She is from a large family and the sister who normally would have been able to help has been out of town. I'm so glad I was able to be available. I always feel so unnecessary around here which results in worse loneliness. It was nice to be able to be a real help to someone.
I'd better stop for now and get to bed. Tomorrow is Chocolate Days at the Quilt Shop where I sew. They have it once a month and I've had to miss the last few times. I'll get to catch up on my sewing AND have all the chocolate munchies I want + lunch. How is that for a great deal:) martha