Friday, December 26, 2014

The Day After Christmas

The day after Christmas. Just me and the kids. Paul's at work busy busy today with cases. Just as I would hope for him. The house was silent this morning all company gone. All of yesterday's mess of excess is clean and carefully tucked away.

The kids are playing with all their new devices, toys, presents. I woke up hacking and coughing as I've been the past few days but feeling.....lighter. Brighter. Calm. I know women aren't supposed to love appliance gifts but.... I woke up so happy to use my new pots and pans for breakfast.

All this coming from a little girl who loved baking mud pies on pretend ovens.

I enjoyed wandering through a clean, silent house, seeing my new picture frame the kids and my husband got me with pics of family.

Everything is peaceful and the day after Christmas is here. A day many of us may not focus on. But to me it is such a special day. The day when you reap the benefits from all the gift giving, the celebrating Jesus' birth for a solid month, the visiting, the decorating, the focussing on love. It is a day of...satisfaction. When all is right with the world. A day of closure and rest as you prepare for the year's last week. It's a day when you get to prepare to start anew. Start to think, "What do I want for myself in the upcoming year?"

On Dec 5, 2012 I was time lining in my journal. Have you ever done that? If not you should-it is very interesting! I noted the highlights and best moments of my life and wrote the dates beside them. What I found may have been purely coincidental but all my favorite moments were in odd years! Born 1979. Graduated high school 1997. Graduated College and Married 2001. Had my daughter 2003. Has my son 2007. Got my masters degree in 2011- So it piqued my interest today thinking about that and how I am approaching 2015. I can hardly fathom that. It sounds like something from the Jetsons. Anyway, I was excited because great things seem to happen in the odd numbered years, and I thought to myself what about the increments of 5? So I went back to that page in my journal (3 journals ago) and added the 5 year increments.

This is what I discovered-1985 I moved to Pineville. That was life changing and very good for me. 1995 I began dating my husband and started danceline-also a life changer and a wonderful experience. 2005 We moved to Chattanooga and bought our first house, still my favorite place on Earth! 2010 Paul got into Vandy's plastic residency. All in all I think the 2015 will be lucky :)

So what do I want for myself in 2015? I always make resolutions. I just feel like it gives you a reset to do what you dream, change what you want to change. Try hard at something positive. In 2013 after living in Nashville for a year I had one resolution-Have fun. And I did that year! We went to concerts, we biked, hiked, went to Universal Studios and Disney World, we got Sonny my dog baby. We had fun. So I guess the moral of that careful what you wish for-You just might get it! And we are still paying for it haha.

I'm not done thinking about it but I am leaning on the resolution for 2015 of "Love, no matter what". This applies to loving myself and my moods, mistakes, imperfections, same for my husband, kids, coworkers, students, strangers, family. I used to make a list of like 10 things that always started with Lose 10 lbs. But then in 2013 I just decided to keep it simple and attainable hence the have fun resolution. If there's one thing I know, it is that people will make mistakes (even the people you love the most), no one is perfect, everyone is human, and love is not given to us because we deserve it. No one deserves it. We all fail. Love is given through grace despite our mistakes and flaws, and mercy. I found this in my old journal and am thankful I wrote it down to help me remember it-

I learned late in life that expectations of people are unfair and come from our perspective so many times they are unrealistic. I now enjoy people for who they are not what I want them to be and can only hope I can continue that and others can as well!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Being "Just" a Mommy at Christmas

Usually at this time I would be frantically grading papers, filing them, and entering grades into the computer because the end of the second quarter would be approaching. This is the first year EVER I have not been doing this as a mom. I would be drowning in papers hauling them back and forth, frantically working on comments and coding report cards. I would be....stressed, very stressed.

I am so at peace and appreciating being at home this holiday season and planning my son's upcoming Christmas Party. I am volunteering to drive middle schoolers to a field trip to see The Hobbit this week. THIS is what I wanted to be doing.

For my son's Christmas party I have arranged a brunch with Chick Fil A chicken minis, am making a crock pot of hot chocolate, and parents have signed up to bring much more brunch items. We are making two Christmas ornaments because the parents have requested and told me they love homemade ornaments made each year!

Here are the ornaments I chose and got materials for today at my favorite store-Micheals! I love Micheals because they give a 20% teacher discount!

So I was strolling Micheal's today while my kids were at school.

When we got home they had popcorn while doing their homework and we turned on the old Santa's Coming to Town, Drummer Boy, and Mr. Magoo's Christmas movies. This is when today I just paused and thought, how very very lucky my children are and they will never know just how much because this is their norm.

So then I laid out the felt and started cutting out all the parts for the kids to put together at the party to get a jump on the ornaments.

It was at this point that the blog started forming in my mind because my daughter and son were getting very interested in what I was doing when my daughter took this pic with my phone. At this point I realized that this is NOT my norm. That's when the old memory of grading papers and all the other tasks I would usually be doing this time of year entered my mind. I was SO content sitting while my kids were working on homework and the Christmas movie was going, and I was cutting felt mice bodies, ears, noses, and hot gluing googley eyes making a model mouse for the class. So. Very. Content.

So of course after I made my mouse my kids wanted to help so here are our testers!

I am telling you, if I had taught all day today...this would not have happened! I would not be planning W's party, be in attendance even, or spending time today making ornaments together. They will be grown in a blink of an eye, and I want to make ornaments together while they still WANT to!

So all in all today was the perfect day to be "just" a mommy! I have really loved this Christmas season the very best of all! I have had time to make things!

I wrapped presents today in an empty house before picking up the kids! I had my eye brows threaded! Painful but so precise! I am enjoying it all.

W is on his 3rd round of doing the same assignment. And he's not crying! Why? Because this has become our norm.

Third times a charm... If it's not his best he has to redo. Would I have the patience to stick with this if I was home from working after a long day? Probably not or the time. So I am so so grateful!

I can't wait til next year to be "just" a mommy at Christmas! This is why I wanted this so much.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tis the Season

This Christmas season has meant something different for me this year. I know it is different for everyone every year depending on life. Maybe because I've had more time as a stay at home mom to enjoy it, think about it, prepare for it. Even though I'm taking an interim position in January, I smile thinking I'll still have next December off again to do the same next year. Being the last month of the old year, and being the month we celebrate the birth of Jesus I truly wish everyone had more time off to be in the moment of it, to reflect.

For me one thing that really hit home this year was sending out Family Christmas cards. Last holiday season we had just moved to a different house and things were chaotic so no family cards. We were good if we had all boxes unpacked by Christmas! The years before life just seemed too hectic and it fell by the wayside basically since we have been in Nashville.

But this year with all my decorating and time to think about the holidays I am starting to understand the value of our family situation. As Christmas cards come in electronically or in the mail I am making a special wreath to put them on where I can enjoy them.

It's not the cards, it's the people. I may have focussed too much of my thoughts on how hard it was to live in so many places, move so many times. As I write out addresses from all over I am realizing how many caring, loving, giving, wonderful people have voluntarily come into our lives during the relocating, resettling, moving, taking new jobs and made it so much better with their presence. Strangers. Strangers that are now like our family. Strangers that have helped with our children, blessed us with their friendships, counseled us, gone to church with us, sat and listened over coffee, had dinner with us many nights, traveled with us, trained for jobs with us, lived life with us. If I could trade it all and live in one place my whole life where everything is comfy and known I wouldn't. I wouldn't miss the opportunity to have the lasting relationships and lifelong friendships.

I understand this time of year has been so hard for so many due to losses or the memories of loved ones that aren't here and this is a time to cover them in prayer. To pray for peace and comfort. To use their situations as a learning experience that we have to treasure those that mean so much to us while we can. To call those you love, to write, to let them know you care.

I was thinking about my kids. I have two and when one is hurt or upset and the other child comes to me to get help I am so appreciative that they are getting my help, but I also feel such joy that they love each other enough to intervene on the other's behalf. This is what the season is all about. Praying for each other through good times and bad.

Giving to those who need it. Loving others. Lighting up your trees, your mailboxes, and your yard to symbolize the joy and the light we receive from Christ like love.

With so much horror in the media each day I just can't write or comment on any of it. Not that I don't have an opinion. I just feel hate begets hate. So I refuse to even speak on it, indulge in it, prolong it. Love is the only cure for hate. So I'm trying to speak love. I want to teach love to my kids.

So as we decorate, celebrate, shop, give, receive-remember the story of Christ and what he did for us. What HE can still do for you. Tis the season to love one another.

Please click on the song I posted below this one- How Many Kings- and just reflect on the Light and Love of Christ. It is a powerful song and I am moved every time I hear it!

Let the Light of Christ guide you into year 2015 no matter the situation.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Downhere - How many kings (w/ lyrics)

This is my Lord and this is how much He loves You and me!  Praise you God for giving us all your super power of LOVE.  It is the only power that will save us all.  And we all have access to it through Christ.

What A Difference a Year Makes

Our lives come in natural increments I guess. Infancy, toddler, preschooler, elementary schooler, middle schooler, high school student, college student, wife, mom, teacher, stay at home mom, teacher again is how mine went and is going so far. My husband's was similar only after college it was resident, fellow, surgeon. I have a habit of looking too far forward at times to a fault. I am learning to live in the one day we have-today.

But for so long I would think if we could just get through med school, if we could just finish residency, as soon as this fellowship is over we will see the light at the end of the tunnel! I now know this is setting up each resident and their family for disappointment! You bring a lot of things with you to the end of that tunnel, and it's not always as bright as you'd hoped it would be or maybe just not as easy as you hope it will get!

One year WILL teach you a lot of things. It taught me that my counting down to being a stay at home mom would lead to another countdown to being a 4th grade teacher again for my 10th year in a row! It taught me while I was looking at W mourning not working at his school this year that I was silly because unbeknownst to me I would be working at his school this school year!

A year has taken many of my friends from being a seeking single to finding the man of their dreams and married by the end of it. It has taken girlfriends from not being a mother to being pregnant and having the baby of their dreams. Or being a devoted mom of one to being a mom to more than one. All in one year. I have seen a year take friends or their spouses from losing a job and feeling despair to finding a new, better, higher paying job that they would love for years to come.

It's around this time that I like to go back on Facebook looking and thinking about the posts back back back through the entire year (although I swear some are missing but anyhoo!) One year can change everything or 5 or 10 certainly 15 feels like a lifetime.

There are only 4 seasons but each year it is like my memory of them fades and when they show up again it's such a surprise. I guess because each year I'm different so I see things differently although they may happen on schedule. One year can change your scenery to a new city or state, or a new house, a new car, or a new job. One year can take an acquaintance and turn her into a new best friend.

One year can bring closeness or distance with family. One year on my children helps me realize it is a lifetime and yet it flies by time and time again. One year over and over turns this into this:

At least she still loves stuffed animals :)

One year can break a woman's heart or fulfill all her dreams. I see it everyday among the people I love. Most of us just think we are doing the best we can for a year holding on for dear life. But then at the end of it if we look back close enough.....we realize all along we were doing so so much more than that.

We were living. Life is in the details not the destination. There is no light at the end of the tunnel until you're dead! The savior brings us the light at the end of the tunnel. Until then, I am living. We can let the light in each and every day-forget tunnel vision! Even when I am waiting, even when I am happy, even when I may be suffering-I am living. I look at my short life as a mom with my husband and kids and realize what goes into each day each year. I wonder, did she know?

Did she know the sacrifice to her body, her mental state from caring for me late night after night, paying for my needs, getting me piano lessons, signing me up for the soccer team, funding my dance teams, sending me off with a broken heart to college and setting me free would bring such joy to me throughout my life and my kids' and hopefully one day their kids' lives? Looking back, how could they have known every year they gave to me would allow me to do the same for my children?

I am always startled to realize a year is over and a new one is about to begin. Surprised so much that I look back at pictures and old posts or journal entries just to prove it really happened. The days are long and years are short. I also start looking to a new year with great anticipation that if all this stuff went down this year what could happen next?! I make new resolutions. I get new perspective.

But I am still in awe at what a difference one. single. year. can make!

I pray in 15 years from now my children are thriving and I am still right next to the man I love. I pray every year I work on the details so that may happen!

Cheers to month 12! May we all celebrate what brings light to every day-Christ and His gift of love and sacrifice so we may start a new month-month 1-with renewed strength, joy, and purpose!