Friday, December 30, 2011


Here we are...mid-vacation, and I have just plumb stuffed myself.
I stuffed myself into a minivan with three other people for 650 miles (and counting).
I stuffed myself into childhood bedrooms, beautifully appointed guest rooms and cramped hotel rooms.
I stuffed myself with beautiful, rich, homemade food as well as poorly cooked, oversalted and overpriced restaurant food. I've scaled the heights of my mother's delicious baked turkey, and I've plumbed the depths of IHOP. I've eaten a lot of chocolate. I've downed countless cups of coffee and glasses of wine.
I've crisscrossed the state, taking in the glorious Atlantic Ocean, the manicured, blue-sky middle, the moss-laden oak trees, the swaying palms and the lakes and rivers that have formed the backdrop of my life.
I've stuffed stockings, suitcases, and gift boxes under the tree. I've stuffed Christmas traditions and child happy-making experiences into every minute of every day.
I've stuffed as much meaningful conversation and lingering hugs and expressions of love as possible into brief, once-a-year encounters with far flung loved ones and friends. I've stuffed 365 days of life into two hours. They call it "catching up."
I've grieved...we've lost people this year. I've been elated...we've gained new people this year. I could cry just thinking about it all.
Today, we're quiet. The four of us stumbled into my parents' house and pretty much passed out. We are veggie-like, lying low in our birth soil, breathing in the nutrients all around us. Recharging. I think my children have watched about 6 hours of Sponge Bob, Square Pants. This will scare me, tomorrow. Right now, I'm so grateful for the quiet.
I'm stuffed full of life and all its messy, beautiful, overwhelming bits. Or to say it more cup runneth over.
I hope yours does as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are you ready?

"Are you ready for Christmas?"
These late December days inevitably lead to that question. And the inevitable answer...nah, still have this to do, that to do... And the sometimes spoken (sometimes not) feeling of, ugh, I just can't wait for all this craziness to be over.
But I think we are ready. In fact, I think we are desperately ready. Today, I declare myself DONE (love those Target commercials) and ready to receive the gift of Christmas. Ponder my incarnation, my devotion read this morning, but not intellectually. Instead, do as the wise men did...follow the leading of the star and fall down in humble worship when you find me.
It's time to get quiet and get out of the stores. I'm pondering my blessings, the grace that God has shown me and all of us. He still performs miracles in our midst! Just look at the two He performed for me. Walking, talking, funny little miracles. Even as He offered the grace of His Son, He still cares about our little happinesses and our everyday joys. This is a mystery that I cannot ponder intellectually, but humbly and with my whole heart.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking Sides

"Why can't you see my side?"

These are the words I was faced with tonight at the moment, the very moment, when I was so tired I didn't want to see ANY sides except maybe my backside glued to the couch with a glass of eggnog on one side and a quiet, loving husband on the other.

The trouble is...I do! I see both sides of every pancake but it doesn't make it any easier to resolve the trouble. I just don't know the right answer. Do we just enjoy the argument, the spiraling down...("What's a debate team, mom?" Lord, help us.) Or do we truly hope for a bit of wisdom, some nugget that will make everything OK again? Don't I long to make everything OK again for them? God knows I do.

When I run to Him with my list of grievances, isn't that what I desire? Make it all OK again! Ride in on your white horse and smite these bothersome enemies who have unfairly bothered me. TAKE THEM OUT. It's all I want. Didn't David beg for the same thing? And when it doesn't happen, don't I feel slighted, petulant, gloomy and unloved? But how does a mother (or Father) choose between two beloved children? I envy God His perfect justice.

There's something there, something profound, that I'm still trying to grasp. Justice, fairness and dealing in Reality, all wrapped up in unending, unstoppable, Ain't No Mountain High Enough kind of Love. And there is Christmas in a nutshell. Nothing could keep Him from me. Nothing could stop Him from delivering Perfect Justice wrapped in Perfect Love. The ultimate gift.

My shortcomings will continue to pain me. But I just keep hoping that wrapping them up in Love will make everything OK again.
Linking up with Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped here: