Faith · Family · Love · Perspective

merry MeRrY MERRY Christmas!

I don’t think we hear it enough. Sure, I heard a few Christmas songs on the radio this morning, but are we really hearing it? The love, joy and goodwill that Christmas is really all about?

Are we just seeing the consumerism side? The “is your tree HGTV or Better Homes and Garden” quality? Do you need a “Star Shower” to project Christmas onto your home? The “is my display up to the par of my neighborhood” moment.

Are we taking the focus off of the Divine and directing it to the Dollar Store (or Macy’s or Kohls…) accompanied by a sense of obligation and dread?????

Or are you FEELING and EXPERIENCING Christmas in your home?

I believe that a few thousand years ago, God became Man briefly. He took on our own skin, but not because we deserved it. Goodness no! Read the Old Testament and parallel it to modern man today. We couldn’t be farther from deserving then or now.

God gave us His son humbly as a gift. Humankind, of course, destroyed the gift. We really do excel at ruining good things. God knew we would ruin it and thru the Easter miracle graced us with forgiveness and love if we will just humbly admit we need it. We need Him.

That is where we base Christmas in our home. Is it because my parents told me to do it this way? No. It’s because I experience my Creator’s corrections and blessings on a daily basis.

Do we do stockings and gifts? Yes. Do we have a (mostly) glowing Christmas tree? Yes. Do I have a hugging Santa and Mrs. Claus on my counter next to a reindeer? Yes.

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We celebrate in our home and out in our community because we received a gift that we didn’t deserve. We happily give out of love because God gave us the gift of Love.

Give to your family or friend. Give to the local Angel tree (kids in need). Give to CarePortal (supporting families- things like beds, carseats, sheets, clothes). Serve at the food bank. Serve at your church. Serve at the local school.

If you aren’t physically able or are financially strapped, be kind. It doesn’t cost a thing to say thank you or to hold a door. Smile.

Whatever you do, please serve, provide for, or treat others with a happy heart. We don’t have to agree on faith matters and theology to be kind to one another. If your heart is hurting, I hope you encounter kindness and compassion today. I’ve been there too.

And if I pass you on the street, Have a Merry Christmas!

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Family · Love · Perspective · Uncategorized

Goodbye

Tough tough week.

Amongst the normal chaos of trying to be places on time with stacked meetings and schedules, there was also projectile vomiting, water spraying a basement wall, and having to say goodbye to our cat.

I always kind of scoffed at the idea that a pet could bring out such deep feelings of grief. I lost a lot of cats and dogs growing up on the farm. As my sister pointed out, having a pet for 15 years- daily feeding, brushing, petting, snuggling, interacting at every point for 1.5 decades- makes that animal more than a pet. It makes him family.

He was stress relief for my husband after a long day and late night company after the kids and I had cashed it in for the evening. He was wordless comfort when my  husband experienced the loss of loved ones.

He was always on the floor or furniture right next to the kids. In the middle of our Candyland board game, sticking his head over the edge of their infant/toddler chairs when they were little, being ‘accessorized’ by my little girl- tolerant and engaged. Touching them with his nose to check on them. Licking their hand or forehead to say “you are my kids.”

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He was my early morning reading partner. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the indoor cat idea, I grew protective and wanted him safe from the plethora of outdoor threats.

He never had enough fight in him to keep him alive outside. 13 years ago, my father-in-law found him half dead in the yard with a nacho Doritos chip bag stuck on his head. Presumably, he was trying to get the last cheesy crumb. Tugging the end of his tail softly brought him down and he’d just lay there looking peeved.

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He was adamant about his small feedings three to four times a day. Voicing his frustration if we missed one, he would expect a bonus feeding later to make it up.

All the way to the very end he was social and loving. After his initial trip to the vet for his diagnosis and return home, his first instinct was to go find the kids. He searched their bedrooms for them and then assumed his place in the sun until they walked in the door from school.

We spent our last evening and morning gently and genuinely loving on him. It was clear that he wouldn’t have much more time before we needed to take him back in to the vet. He had quickly dehydrated (complete kidney failure). I’m grateful we were able to say our goodbyes and provide him that pain-free care.

Rest easy. We miss you.

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I didn’t mean to make this a long post, nor a sad one. This is part of life. It is a blessing to be able to love a person or a pet. It is a gift to love and be loved.

Much love this week-  Jen

Family · Perspective · Uncategorized

Fall Drive

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Today the cattle are being driven the four miles back to the farm from the hills.

We don’t actually ‘drive’ them. They walk. We don’t push or get aggressive. The mamas know the path. Their bellies sway as they plod down the dirt roads. The babies push along in slow groups or stick close to their mamas.

90 minutes of slow and steady. They are back for the winter.

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

Overheard in the Car

Photo credit to Philmckinney and beyondtheobvious

Mom, if I had a choice between a puhmillion pieces of gum and one, I’d choose the puhmillion. (5yr old)

me: Ok, didn’t we have a talk about there being no such thing as a puhmillion?

Yes. So mom, if I had a choice between a thousand pieces of gum…

….. 5 miles down the road ……

me: Hey! I just saw a shooting star!

7yr old boy: Are you going to make a wish?

me: Yes I already did. I wish your dad to be home safely from his trip.

5 yr old girl, completely matter of fact and without missing a beat because obviously she’s been thinking of this:  I wish to be a mermaid.

me: What do you wish for T?

7yr old boy: Mom there are wish rules. I can’t tell you. But, I wish for everybody to just be quiet!!!!

And so ended our conversation as we pulled into the yard tonight.

Family · Parenting

Small Talk

Topics of conversation covered by my 5 and 7 year old children after school yesterday in under an hour:

  1. Sweet potatoes – do they all have to be orange?
  2. The garter snake family that we found living under our porch when we demolished it on Saturday. Where are they now? Did you know they can grow to almost 4 foot long? Found that out Saturday.
  3. “Why won’t my brother let me hug him?” – in dramatic fashion
  4. Snack options – settled on graham cracker sandwiches with a little chocolate frosting
  5. Halloween costumes – can we really mix a cheerleader uniform with angel wings? The answer is yes. It’s Halloween. #pickingmybattles
  6. “Fits don’t get us what we want.” Reminder number 8,000,531
  7. Corn dogs
  8. Will it really snow on Halloween? – Looks like a yes at this point…
  9. Did you know that there is no such thing as a “puhmillion” of something?
  10. Someone stole my tic tacs! Recovered from his bedroom floor an hour later.
  11. “Mom, did you know that B____ and A____ and L____ were told that if they didn’t stop punching, pinching, kicking, and hitting that they would have to go to the principal’s office? But not at the same time!” — The life of a Kindergartener
  12. Breakfast for dinner or pizza?
  13. Homework and sight words.
  14. Did anyone feed the cat?
  15. Hide and Go Seek in the house until the little one started crying.

Whew. Are you exhausted? I was by 6pm….

Happy Halloween! — Jen

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Family · Parenting · Perspective

extra

I’m sitting here on my couch reviewing the past week and looking ahead to the next. My daughter is trying on clothes from the cousin hand-me-down bag (which is amazing).

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We are on Day 2 of fall break. Day 1 was parent-teacher conferences, an hour in the office at work, Cosmic Kids Space Club, and dance class.

Space club is a group of my son’s buddies that were invited to check out Saturn on one of the boy’s grandpa’s telescope.

We just finished soybean harvest. The guys are drilling on the last few dozen acres of wheat. For a blessed day, we are still a few points too damp for milo harvest.

As I sit here, I realize that the role of mother, wife and working mom isn’t what wears me out. It’s all the extras.

It’s the Ear Nose and Throat specialist we will visit in Monday for 3 rounds of strep throat in 60 days. The additional meeting I need to attend.

It makes me wonder how necessary some of those commitments are. The ENT is a must. What about the others?

At kids’ youth group Wednesday night, another volunteer from the generation before mine asked me if my parents scrambled around as much as my generation is to make it all happen. After a few days of thought, I’m convinced they did. However, I don’t think it started this young.

Is it really going to put my kids at a disadvantage if they don’t do that next extra activity?

I speculate that having a mom who isn’t scurrying, rushing and occasionally loosing her sh*t  patience is likely better for everyone.