Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lights! Camera! Action!

As 2011 leaves us…forever…I am reminded that each year I have on this earth is a gift. (This 4 minute, 20 second video is my favorite video from 2011, and maybe all time, which beautifully reminds me of the gift that life is.)  And as I travel home across 671 miles today, I find myself pondering the coming year. I keep coming back to this thought:  I want this coming year to be about putting action to my intentions.

Intentions like volunteering in the community again. Intentions like contacting a publisher or two about book idea. Intentions like spending more one on one time with my girls. And intentions like actually getting together for lunch with a friend. And writing some letters I’ve been ‘intending’ to write for awhile. And having the neighbors over to play cards. Intentions like buying more handmade gifts, or actually making my own.  Intentions like regular exercise and a healthier lifestyle. Intentions like reading my bible on a more regular basis, rather than sporadically. You see, the truth is, I can spend my whole life thinking about doing something…or I can actually do it. Action. That’s my word for 2012. What’s yours?! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Week

First, the pictures of what I'm calling our "American Girl" Christmas...
Next, capturing into words, some of the memories of our Christmas week...

  • Two miles into our 671 mile car trip my sarcastic daughter (Morgan) asks, "Are we there yet?" Ha, ha! And at 5:15am, I didn't even break into my famous song of "we'll get there when we get there, and have a great time when we do, but half the fun of getting where we're going, is going there with you!" 
  • The girls participated in their first communion at Christmas Eve service with their grandma and grandpa. Sweet moment. 
  • Aunt Suzie 'capturing' Santa on her camera in the middle of the night. And how much it helped my skeptical 'believing in Santa girls' to still believe in the magic! 
  • How happy my girls were with their presents, even if they didn't get their big wish items! I never once heard a complaint. Just smiles. And joy. 
  • Making t-shirt scarves with my sister.
  • Still being able to beat my 15 year old nephew at  monopoly. And that he still wanted to play the game with me!
  • My fingers turning raw from winding up the penguin to swim in the water, again and again, so I could see the smile on my 3 year old nephew's face again and again. 
  • Listening to girls splash in the pool with their cousins in Chicago. And their giggles playing Headbanz with them. 
  • Three girls, all snuggled together in one (twin) bed, while giggles (and whispers) drifted out of the door. Awww, sweet cousin love! 
  • Seeing family and being reminded of how much we are loved!
But now I must go, for there are more memories yet to be made! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Half Birthdays

I love pausing to remember half birthdays! The pausing helps me savor these precious years zooming on by! Today is Morgan's 10.5 birthday! I think it's cute how now when someone asks her age, she will no longer say, "I'm ten!" Rather she will say "I'm ten and a half!" That half is such a big deal. After all, you're so much bigger when you are ten and a half! 

I woke up this morning wondering, when is the 'half' no longer important? I certainly don't go around saying I'm 37 and a half! I don't know, but as long as it's important to them, I will celebrate every half year I can! And something tells me I may even be calling them up and wishing them a happy thirty and a half  birthday one day!

p.s. - And I'm LOVING our new GIANT wall scrabble game. Yesterday the words intersected to read, "Good Morning". Today they intersect with "Happy Half Birthday Fun"! And by the end of the day...the scrabble game is completed with all the letters used up!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Giant Scrabble Game!

This is the weekend before Christmas and other than two birthday parties and church, we have no commitments! So we are savoring the family time we have!

Mike's Gram (almost 94) loves the game scrabble. I have fond memories of playing it at her dining room table when we visited her in upstate NY. Well, she always sends us money for Christmas, and I knew that I wanted to take some of the money and buy the materials to make this - A GIANT scrabble game!! (although we'll play it more like banagrams, as there is no 'official' board.)

Mike made the frame for me today and I'm not sure if my smile was bigger or the girls when it got hung up! As you can see from the pictures, the girls had lots of fun creating a full board before bedtime tonight.

I have a feeling this will create hours of entertainment for our family, and any friends who stop by and want to add a word or two!! I also love it because it will be a reminder of the sweet lady we know and get to call "Gram"!

Today, we also made some Christmas candy, watched a Christmas movie, opened presents from the neighbor and the ones that came in the mail from distant cousins. Tomorrow, we plan to go look at Christmas lights. Oh, and today, we also got out our "Christmas Train." It's not really Christmasy, except we get it out only at Christmas time. It was Mike's dad's train, so it's over 60 years old. As you can see from the picture, the girls love getting out all their doll house and polly toys (that they rarely play with these days) and they create an entire village around the train. I love Christmastime!  And I love spending it unrushed with those I love the most!! 

Merry Xmas!

I know people will read this and disagree with me. That's okay, we don't have to agree, but I am going to get on my soapbox for a minute.  I use to care about the whole Xmas thing and/or Happy Holidays issue. I don't anymore. I choose to write and say Merry Christmas, and probably always will. But really, I truly don't care what other Christmas greetings people say.

You see, I've been discovering, in the bigger picture of life - THIS 'issue' is a minor issue. And honestly, I wonder if God really even cares what Christmas greetings people share. When I think of God's heart - His heart for those living in poverty (note from our pastor's message last week - did you know poverty is mentioned 2,100 in the bible - I think THIS is an issue God cares deeply about!), when I think of all the pain, brokenness, disease, and spiritual emptiness in this world - I think THESE are issues close to God's heart. And as a Christian, I believe I should be more concerned about these bigger issues and not waste my energy being concerned over minor issues, like how we say or don't say Merry Christmas!  Am I loving people? Am I doing what I can with my gifts, my time, my money, to be compassionate and giving in this world? These are the things I need to worry about.

Reality Check.

Am I wishing others a Merry Christmas while looking like the moms in this photo? I like to give the excuse that I don't shop Black Friday - that's not me in those photos - and yet I look under our Christmas tree right now, at all the presents ready to open - and I think about how little I've seemed to give to those hurting this season - and I'm silenced. Sure, this season, we've bought some toys and food for those living in poverty in our community - and I've picked up an application to fill out to begin volunteering again in our community after the first of the year - but within me lies this unsettled-ness. This awakening. I'm not sure where it will lead, but I'm trying to not ignore it. To love better, to care more, and to put actions to my intentions. Maybe that's what this next year needs to be about for me, putting actions to my intentions. (Oh, where did that come from? I like it!)

ps - Did you know the Greek symbol chi (X) means "Christ"? And according to Wikipedia, as early as 1634 you could find Christianity referred to as Xianity?

pss - Thanks to Tommy Sparger and North Point Church for causing me to pause and think about bigger issues of God's heart!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Merriest Season of All

This blog entry is WAY slooowwwing down my productivity, but sometimes something within me just has to try and capture into words all that my heart is feeling.

Twinkling lights filling the living room, framing the collection of a lifetime of ornaments. Flames flickering out warmth into the room. Four unmatched, unique, childhood stockings hanging from the mantle. Wrapping paper scattered throughout the floor. Memories of this past year being scribbled down onto paper and formed into a "Christmas Letter". Boxes packaged up and ready to ship. Hot chocolate filling me from the inside out with joy. Dog curious about all this 'christmasy' stuff! (psst - she looks so cute in her new Christmas collar!) Centuries old Christmas carols filling the air with promises of hope, love, peace.  Awww, Christmas, I  love you, you are the merriest time of season of all! I'm so glad you come to visit once a year and remind me of all that is truly important in my life.

On a different did I get so lucky to be the mom of these sweet sisters?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Nephew IS HiLAriOuS!!

Noah in awe of the train. We got his big bro
 this train about 12 years ago! 
I seriously think I need to call my nephew every night. He is absolutely hilarious. He is the cutest two (almost three) year old ever!  So here is my attempt at  capturing a few snippets of tonight's phone call from him.

me: Noah, that is so cool! (he was telling me about his new lion hat)
Noah: No, not cool. It is awesome!
me: Awesome Noah!

me: Noah, Aunt Cathy loves you.
Noah: No, Mommy loves me.
me: Well mommy and Aunt Cathy loves you.
Noah: No, only mommy.
(30 secs later) me: Good night Noah, I love you.
Noah: Good night Aunt Cathy, love you too!

me: So Noah, is that okay?
Noah: No, it's not okay Aunt Cathy, it is fine!

me: Noah, is there snow outside?
Noah: No, it's just dark.
me: There is snow and dark.
Noah: No Aunt Cathy, just dark.
me: Is the snow hiding behind the dark?
Noah: (a bit frustrated)  No, just dark.

He apparently decided to tell everyone a knock knock joke at daycare. And he told me.  Here you go.
Knock Knock
Who's There?
Shelby who?
Shelby coming round the mountain when she comes!

I'm sure this is no way near as funny reading it, as the actual conversation was, but hopefully this will jog my memory one day of this sweet phone call I had with him.  And I must say, I just want to jump in the car now and drive up to see him! And play 'cars' with him! Soon, soon...