Monday, November 30, 2009
It’s the faces at holidays that are the important memories.
Thursday we traveled to Cincinnati. Jeff’s closest friend, Brian (Uncle Briney), came along- as is tradition. I didn’t take enough pictures. I was busy most of the day- helping in the kitchen, chasing kids, visiting with family.
Friday I prepared my home for our Christmas tree. I cleaned the living room. I moved furniture. I cleaned the kitchen. Took the kids to see Christmas lights around town.
Saturday we enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with Jeff’s family- his parents, his sister and her kids.
Sunday was church and singing with music team for 2 services. Jeff wanted his own Thanksgiving feast- so I bought a turkey breast on Saturday and made him his meal. I did the turkey in the crock pot- 1 stick of butter and some onion soup mix. Very yummy! He also asked for corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, and stove top. I threw in some rolls for Teagan and Zach. Then we dragged out the tree and ornaments and decorations (more on that tomorrow). Got the kids into their pj’s and went out to see lights again!
When I went and uploaded my pics, I realized that I took a lot more faces this year. I took far fewer pics than I normally do- my camera just kept getting away from me. But it was the faces that stole the show this year!
My mom. I love this picture. This captures the real her. Sometimes, this side easily gets lost in the hustle and bustle. She’s my mom, she’s a grandma to my kids, and she has a son in college and a son in high school. So these big, full of life smiles can sometimes get a little lost… but boy do they radiate joy and light up the room!!
What faces were part of your celebrations?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Jeff went out this evening and came back with a real treat for me.
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Best of Season 3
My mom is responsible for my introduction to The Smothers Brothers. And I'm betting it's a big part of why I lean politically the way I do. See Mom? All your fault. I'm sure that she was really thinking that I was into the folk music (I was) and silly humor (I was). But when I learned about the show, the issues that the Brothers faced with CBS, the political statements they made and stood behind... I was a fan!
So Jeff came home with this set of the best episodes of Season 3. And we are sitting down and watching it right now. These men were simply brilliant. I want them back on the air now. I wish they'd been doing their thing the 8 years of Bush. I bet they'd have had a heyday with Clinton. They poke a real, hard finger at issues that need poking but do it with a sense of humor and light heartedness that leaves you really open to really hearing it when they nail home a point.
Anyone else a fan of The Smothers Brothers?
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Teagan’s preschool hosted a Thanksgiving Feast on Tuesday. The kids did the cooking- vegetable stew, cornbread, pumpkin pie, lemonade. Parents came and enjoyed lunch with their kids. Some grandparents were there. The kids had made placemats, centerpieces, and turkey hats. We were greeted with a little poem the kids all recited about turkeys- I hardly caught the words because I was just so excited that Teagan was actually saying the words and smiling.
We got our food and sat down at the tiny little table in the tiny little chairs. We ate our stew- potatoes, carrots, celery, tomato, corn. We ate our cornbread. We had a slice of pie. We talked to Teagan about what she had done to help prepare the meal- she cut up veggies (carrots and celery, she reported).
She didn’t want to eat the veggies, only the cornbread. I found it quite humorous that she didn’t like my answer to her request for more cornbread- that she needed to eat some of the veggies she had prepared first. Just a couple of bites. So she announced that she was going to ask Ms. Lynna. And she got the same answer from Ms. Lynna! She settled for handing out pumpkin pie… even attempted to have a parent sneak her a piece. Ha! She was quite cunning!
It was a most adorable lunch break. I have lovely souvenirs that we will treasure forever. Memories we will cherish. I just love this school!!
The crafts- a turkey hat, a turkey centerpiece, a handprint turkey placemat.
The placemat had a lovely poem, a lovely handprint, my girl’s lovely handwriting.
My beautiful girl, wearing her lovely turkey hat, enjoying her cornbread.
And I couldn’t help myself- when I got back to work, I just had to try on that turkey hat for myself. Whatdya think?? Is it just so me??
For my US readers, I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend and that you realize the many blessings that surround you, even on your lowest day. For my non-US readers, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wish you many moments of gratitude!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is a big topic and I hope I can do it justice.
Forgiveness is such an important value and theme in my life. Over the course of the past few months, it has come up again and again. A sermon at church, fellow bloggers, even Oprah.
Forgiveness became very important in my life early on. We certainly strive to teach our children to forgive a friend when feelings have been hurt, to seek forgiveness when they have caused harm. Friends and family say or do things that hurt us and we choose to forgive. Forgiveness, in some ways, can be a daily action!
But what about the Big Hurts? I’m a survivor of a very Big Hurt. I’m a survivor of some pretty crappy stuff in my childhood. Many years ago, I knew I had to forgive my abuser or else I would never move forward. I would be stuck in a place of hate and anger and resentment if I didn’t let it go through forgiveness. I forgave myself, my family, my teachers, and eventually- my abuser.
But what exactly does forgiveness mean? Are there different stages and types of forgiveness? Do you forgive for the other person or for yourself? Or both? Is forgiveness necessary to really heal from serious wrongs?
I was watching an episode of Oprah recently. She had a family on… 2 teens whose parents had been murdered by their uncle. The story was tragic on so many levels. But there was something about this young woman… the daughter… she was 6, I think, when the murder happened. She stepped over the body of her murdered aunt to rescue her little brother who was hiding under the covers of his parents bed as the shooting happened around him. She and her brother were raised by their maternal grandmother. She and her grandma spoke of forgiveness. And here’s the part that I found most amazing… this woman who lost her daughter, these young people whose parents were taken from them so brutally… were fighting for the murderer to not be executed.
From Oprah’s recap, the grandma explains where she is coming from and how she has raised the children:
Mary, Natalie's mother, says she didn't raise Kim and Matt to hate Eric. "It's because of my faith. Because when you give thanks to God, God carries [you]. And He gave us peace," she says. "[Natalie's] in heaven, so I have a lot to be thankful for." Mary says she doesn't believe Eric's story, but she still forgives him. "I pray for you that you ask God for forgiveness, because that's where it's all at. And I ask everybody to write the governor to stop the death penalty because we're not here to judge. You deserve to be in jail, but we don't want you to die."
This struck me and brought me back to a sermon that my pastor had given a few months back. The topic was forgiveness. And there was something he said that had stuck with me. That the next step in forgiveness is to pray for the person who hurt you the most deeply. Pray for their redemption, pray that they have found God and sought His forgiveness.
I have not been able to do that.
I have forgiven him and I turn his judgment over to God. But that sermon, that idea… I have this fear that to take my most intimate time with God and bring that person into it would be bringing him back into my life and that is not what I want at all. I know it doesn’t mean he’d physically be here. But it would mean allowing him into my heart and mind again. Yes, my past is always there with me. No, I don’t try to ignore it or pretend like it isn’t there.
I wrote an e-mail to my pastor to tell him about this episode of Oprah and what this woman said and what I was thinking about his sermon.
I would say though, that prayers for the abuser do not need to be continuous--just for a “season” and sincere. That season can actually be a very short time—just a period you’ve set aside to give your focus there, and then move on, trusting the Holy Spirit to carry your prayers from then on. Please read Romans 8:18-30, paying special attention to Romans 8:26, and get ready to have your prayer life in this situation changed forever.
Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
So I don’t have to set a date to kneel down and pray specifically for the abuser’s redemption. If I carry it in my heart, God knows and the Holy Spirit carries that prayer through me.
So what does all of that boil down to when it comes to forgiveness? How did I even take the first step to be able to forgive my abuser for the awful things he did to me?
I can tell you that there isn’t a formula. I can tell you that I believe that forgiveness is a very personal journey and that what works for one, won’t work for another.
At the time, when I was hospitalized in an inpatient adolescent unit, I knew that I had to do something in order to move forward. I knew that my anger, shame, rage, hurt, pain would never begin to release and heal if I didn’t do something. Forgive. I had to cut him from my life in this one last, final way. There was physical separation, there was the end of the abuse. But over those years, he still had a piece of my mind and my heart. And by forgiving him, I claimed back those pieces of myself. By forgiving him, I released his hold on me.
As an adult, as I have been digging deeper into my faith and spirituality, I have reached a different level of forgiveness. I realized that I had to do more than just release him from my life. I had to turn him over to God. The pain, sorrow, shame, anger was alleviated but still present until I was able to turn all of that over. I think a part of me had carried the judgment of my abuser on my own shoulders. That is some serious weight. I needed other people to know he was guilty. Until I turned it over to God. He is the judge.
And now I face a final step. I released what he had done. I released the judgment in my heart. Next, I find a way to pray that God will forgive him, that God will show him mercy, that he will fall to his knees and pray for his own redemption. I’m not there yet but I’m not far from it, either.
Forgiveness is important because without it, I would have no peace, no serenity, no calm, no happiness, no joy.
How about you? Are you ready to forgive?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Sometimes, a daddy does something very small that seems so very big. I think that even Jeff may not understand how great of a dad he is.
He often has patience when I do not. He often has calm when my temper flares. He often sees logic where I see chaos. He provides for us. He keeps us safe and secure.
He is the best daddy.
He came through for his daughter for Colts Day last week. Funny side bar on that one... Ms. Lori shared a group photo from Colts Day... see if you can spot Teagan in it...
He is the best daddy.
Thursday night, Jeff proved, once again, that he is more than a solid husband and father. He proved that he is the best daddy. I was at music team. It had been moving day at work and I rushed from work to our side of town. Jeff and the kids and Christy and I met up to have dinner together. We ate, played, hugged, talked about Teagan’s fantastic day as Ms. Lori’s helper.
I went to church and Jeff took the kids home for bedtime.
I had left home at 7, didn’t get home until 9 after music team and stopping to buy diapers. The children were nestled, all snug in their beds… oh wait… wrong story. But you get the idea. He managed bedtime and bathtime and so on all by himself- because he’s their dad, not because he was doing something special.
The next day, I notice that Teagan’s fingernails are painted. I ask if a teacher at school did that for her? Nope- Daddy did it!
With no prompting, no suggesting, no hinting… heck, it wasn’t an idea in my head at all. My husband said yes to his daughter. He took the tiny bottle and brush and delicately painted each of her tiny little fingernails.
He is the best daddy.
Today, he is taking his daughter to the movies because she earned it as part of her reward for her 10 days of good choices at school. A special date- movies are “their thing.”
He is the best daddy.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
It’s fun. It’s easy. And it all started with a completely different recipe.
I love my Kraft Food and Family magazine. A recipe for a Baked Cheese and Veggie Twist caught my eye- but the ingredient list was one that my family would never go for. Broccoli? No way! Mushrooms? Nuh-uh! But my wheels started spinning… what a fun way to make a pizza!
Crescent rolls, lined up as shown in the magazine (or you can watch the video on that link up there), a layer of sauce, pepperoni, mozzarella. Folded the edges over to form the “wreath.” Used a crescent roll triangle to form a middle to the wreath. Baked at 375 for 20 minutes. Took it out and put a few slices of pepperoni in the middle and then put mozzarella all around the wreath. Baked another 10 mins.
I sliced it like a pizza. Put a slice on Teagan’s plate, one on Zach’s plate. We cut it up into bites and inspiration hit me… what’s more fun than a fork? A toothpick! But we didn’t have any. Maybe… a skewer? None of those. But I did have chopsticks- each child got one stick and the fun began!
And while Jeff didn’t get in on the skewer action, he did enjoy the meal. He even went back for seconds later on! We had a side of peas with it- it’s on Teagan’s list!