Thursday, December 27, 2007

New York City Awaits!

We are off for David's long-awaited birthday trip to NYC. Our bags are (mostly) packed, our house is quiet, Jillian is on her way to Georgia and Kylie is curled up watching a movie. Life seems good right now. I think "All is Calm, All is Bright" applies to the days after Christmas!

Speaking of Christmas, we had a wonderful one. God had a sweet surprise lined up for me. Remember in my last post, when I said that I was sad because there would be no surprises from my Daddy? Well I was wrong. My mother chose to pass on a beautiful gold and diamond cross that my Daddy had given her. So there was jewelry under my tree from my father. Isn't that just like God to surprise us with a heart's desire? I got other beautiful jewelry this Christmas, too, but this piece spoke to a spot deep inside me that needed to remember I was the apple of someone's eye. Thank you, Mom, for knowing the right time to pass that treasure on to me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Quiet Christmas Moments

Have you ever noticed that each Christmas takes on a life of its own? Each year we start out with the best of intentions. THIS year we will wrap the banister with perfect lights. This year we will fill the house with the smell of molasses cookies, or turkey, or ham. This year we will slow down and enjoy the sounds of the season. Some years do indeed live up to their magical promises. Other years surprise us with new thoughts, smells, and sounds. Christmas memories we never expected.

Three years ago our Christmas was unexpectedly filled with the sounds and smells of Dad's hospital room as he fought his last battle with Kidney Cancer. It was not a Christmas I would have chosen for myself, but surely Daddy's last Christmas with me is precious beyond compare. I can still see the string of holiday lights hanging in our hotel window and taste the room service chicken fingers and chocolate fudge sundaes. I remember the strange disappointment I had at realizing there would be no "surprise" jewelry gifts from Dad that year, and the surge of pleasure at seeing his familiar writing on the money envelopes hanging off the old tradition. It was a bone-crunching, hard Christmas. I wouldn't want to repeat it and I wouldn't want to trade it.

This Christmas, too, is surprising me. We have another family of four living and celebrating with us before they move to Georgia. We love this family, and I am so grateful to have them here. But eight people living in this house is maxing us out! I've given up on having a perfect house, or even enough clean towels around. But the reward is having time together: unhurried time to share things we'd forgotten to talk about before. This isn't our normal Christmas, but I have a feeling that in a few years I'll realize that I wouldn't trade it for anything, either.

I don't want to hurry this day. So my prayer for me and for you tonight is that we find ourselves fully experiencing whatever Christmas we find ourselves in this year. Slow down and welcome the changes. Surprise yourself.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas countdown begins

So if this is a record of my nights by the glow of the computer screen, I'm afraid tonight is not going to be typical. Our home is crammed full of visiting friends. Is there anything better than time with friends? These, unfortunately, are moving to Georgia the day after Christmas, and our life will become a little less full when they do. On the other hand, we're following them to Georgia in just a few days, so who knows?

We went to see the new National Treasure movie tonight. I was surprised that I enjoyed it nearly as much as the original! Great writing...good wit. It's not often that I feel like I got my money's worth. I love thinking about the what ifs of history. What if it really happened like that?

So that's about it. It's 3 AM, I have nothing to say, and Jillian STILL isn't ready for bed. It ended up being 5 AM yesterday, so maybe tonight will be better. OCD is a frustrating disease. Sometimes it appears so normal: like Jillian surely COULD go to bed on her own if she just wanted to. And at other times I realize how deeply her fears run, how insecure she really is. Just a few minutes ago, kissing her goodnight, she accidently bumped me in the nose. Not an issue (though it really did!). She has apologized not less than 10 times for that bump. A few minutes ago she even wandered back out here to the living room to make sure I forgive her. That, my friends, is OCD at work.

Well, good night from my magical nocturnal wonderland. Rest easy, friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007

3:13 and all is well

So this is how I enter the blogosphere... with a whimper in the middle of the night. Somehow that seems right, because the middle of the night has become my defining moment. 

I have always been a night owl, but previously my nocturnal habits had been my own choice. Now, I have a child who suffers from insomnia and OCD... a lethal combination. Her anxiety causes her to long for human companionship while she struggles with sleep. And while I don't feel human, quite, I am some form of companionship. So here I sit, night after night. 

I am hoping through this blog to explore some of the creative thoughts and projects that waltz through my mind at this hour. I sit here and day dream (night dream?) and think and pray. And when I do there is no one to share my thoughts with. So now I will share them here. 

Today I have been reading "Kabul Beauty School" by Deborah Rodriguez. I always wondered what drives certain people to accomplish extraordinary deeds. Deborah (Miss Debbie in the book) was an ordinary woman with her share of bad luck and tough choices. Through disaster training this hairdresser ended up in Kabul, Afghanistan and discovered the need for beauty services in that town devastated by the Taliban's rule. The book is inspiring. This woman had no amazingly special skills. Although a woman of faith, she was not a lifetime missionary and showed no desire to convert the Afghani women. She didn't have access to movers and shakers, but worked her magic on the people already around her. In other words, she was a lot like you and me. But she changed her world. I am inspired to reevaluate how I can change my world.