Ten Blue Eyes

life as we see it


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Poolside Catch and Release

IMG_6214My torso. That’s the indicator for me. When I’m deep enough in cold pool water for it to hit my torso, that’s when it really takes my breath away. At this particular moment, I actually was that deep in the community pool as my daughters splashed and giggled around me. They were seemingly unaware of the water’s temperature, and also of my sudden mental departure.

I had just regained feeling in my extremities as my body adjusted to the cold water, but now my breath was once again stuck in my throat as I watched what was unfolding in front of me.

Two girls from my son’s school had arrived at the pool, and though I saw them, they did not see me. Their eyes were focused elsewhere.

On my son.

Karson was in a different area of the pool playing basketball in the water with a group of boys. They were yelling and lunging and smacking the water as boys do. They were loud and completely focused on the game.

I watched as the girls smiled and repeated Karson’s name to each other with raised shoulders and eyes that twinkled.

My eyes surely were playing tricks on me because by all indications, it looked as if these girls were going into flirt mode with their designated target being my ten-year-old baby boy.

Perhaps I’m being dramatic.

Perhaps I’m being a mom.

Either way, I’m being honest when I tell you I hadn’t really considered the idea that my son was entering the age of “girl notices boy.”

I am getting deeper into this parenting thing all the time. My torso is getting tense.

The flirting girls should not have taken me by surprise. I was a fifth grade girl once.

I remember the whispering mobs that surrounded me on the playground alerting me that one of the boys may want to “go out” with me. I never actually went anywhere with any of them, but the scouting reports were real and the drama level was high. So were my bangs (but that’s another issue all together).

As a mom of two daughters, I’m accustomed to drama in my house as well.

My five and six-year-old girls have dramatic moments more than daily. They react with high emotion to various subjects ranging from a twisted seat belt strap, to pant legs that feel too “lumpy bumpy.”

My Kindergarten daughter rejected three marriage proposals from boys in her class this year as well as felt the sting of rejection herself as little friends chose to play with someone else at recess. Tears and hugging were involved.

My youngest daughter was given a pair of shoes for her third birthday. The shoes were cute, but too small for Kenzie who squeezed them onto her foot like Cinderella’s step-sisters and then said, “It hurts, but it’s a GOOD hurt!” I repeat, she was three.

Drama is no stranger of mine.

But it is unknown to Karson.

Karson’s drama level ranks somewhere between, “What’s drama?” and “Oh, were you talking to me?” He’s all boy with a kind and gentle spirit mixed with a love for competition and fun.

So when the girls stood poolside and repeatedly yelled Karson’s name as they stood up tall and pretty hoping for his attention, he wasn’t ignoring them. That would never even cross his mind. He was simply too involved in his basketball game to notice.

Until the basketball bounced off the water and rolled up onto the warm concrete right to the girls’ feet.

Their smiles grew as one of them picked up the loose ball and tossed it back to Karson who stood with outstretched arms in the water.

He caught the ball and gave them an ever so slight nod of his head to thank them. Then he turned around and made a bank shot.

My eyes darted back to the girls to see them slouch and sigh in disappointment. They had been hoping for a little more interaction. They walked away shaking their heads.

I found myself tilting my own head back in quiet laughter. Apparently my son has reached the realm of “girl notices boy”, but he’s still on the outskirts of “boy notices girl.”

I have to admit that I’m perfectly fine with that.

I’m not kidding myself. I know that one of these days I’ll turn around and will no longer be the only woman in my son’s life. And I’m okay with that. I look forward to knowing her.

I just hope she can rebound.


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Survivor Guilt: Turning Guilt Into Hope

Today, February 9th, 2015, marks the 8th anniversary of our son Karson’s diagnosis with leukemia. Eight years. This date is always a mixed bag of emotions for us. We feel pure elation for where we are today, and yet the moments of shock and sorrow we felt 8 years ago are still very raw and tangible. We celebrate how far we’ve come, and we remember because it’s important to never forget where we’ve been. 

I wrote a blog article about the “survivor guilt” that I sometimes feel and how I’ve been challenged to turn that guilt into hope for others. The Riley Children’s Foundation was kind enough to share it on their blog today in honor of Karson’s diagnosis anniversary. You can find it on the RCF page here. Or, you can read it on my personal blog below. 

Here’s to hope! 

 

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I tilted my head back until I felt my neck muscles had reached their limit. I was getting the best view possible as I watched my son attempt to scale an almost 30 foot climbing wall at our local YMCA.

I know nothing about climbing, so I was not there to offer advice, but to cheer Karson on and to take pictures. So, when Karson stopped about three quarters of the way up and let go of his grip, with both his hands and his feet, I wasn’t sure what to do or say.

He hung there, suspended in the air, by the rope and harness that was being carefully anchored on the ground by a trained staff member. Karson’s body drifted slowly from side to side as he shook out his hands and repeatedly said, “I’m done. I can’t go any further. I’m too tired.”

I wasn’t sure how to respond. Should I let him quit? Had he pushed himself to his limit? I really didn’t know what to tell him because I’d never been in his position and I didn’t know how he really felt.

But, the trained climbing expert who was calmly holding onto Karson’s rope and steadying him in mid-air spoke up. “You can do it!” he said. “Don’t quit. Come on man, you have strong legs, you’re tall, you can do this. It’s not much further. “

At first Karson shook his head and looked at me for permission to give up. I deferred by looking at the climbing expert who was still yelling out words of encouragement.

After a few moments, Karson turned back toward the wall and grabbed on with his right hand, and then his left, and then he found places to anchor his feet.

The climbing expert started to shout out specific commands.

 “Right hand blue.”

“Left foot yellow. That’s it.”

“Now left hand green. You can reach it.”

And though it may have sounded like a game of Twister, this man was telling my son how to get to the top of the wall, one colored fake rock at a time.

And Karson did.

I liken this experience with Karson to another we’ve faced in his lifetime. Cancer.

His diagnosis with leukemia at the age of two was a wall that stood in front of us and stretched higher than we could even see.

The climb took years of maneuvering through chemotherapy treatments, steroids, hair loss, weight gain, isolation and spinal taps.

There were times in the midst of it all when we let go of the wall and swung helplessly in mid-air without an ounce of energy left to go forward.

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And it was during those times that I heard the voices of others who had already climbed this wall and who had successfully made it to the top. Families of other children who had fought leukemia and other cancers encouraged us by saying,

“You can do this. You are strong. Karson is strong. God is good. Keep climbing.”

Then, as we’d turn our faces toward the next trial their words would become even more specific.

 “We remember the loneliness of isolation. We’re here for you via phone of email whenever you need to talk.”

“Oh, that drug was the worst! Are you experiencing that side effect too? We can relate. Here’s an idea we found that brought some relief.”

“Our daughter had the same issue with the spinal taps. You’re not alone. We’re praying for you.”

Do you see what these survivors, these “experts” in the steep climb against cancer, were doing?

They were helping us get to the top, one excruciating moment at a time.

And we did.

Karson finished his three years of chemotherapy in 2010 and he remains cancer-free to this day. He’s a healthy, strong, ten-year-old who can now go the YMCA and climb a wall like any other 4th grader.

But the problem is, sometimes I feel guilty about our success.

It may sound crazy, but as the years have ticked by and Karson has continued to thrive, I sometimes feel the “survivors guilt” trickle in. It’s second-hand survivor’s guilt, really. But it stings just the same.

And at first, I wasn’t sure what to do about it.

The feelings of guilt caused me to be silent and not share about our success fearing I may cause pain to others who were struggling and who weren’t as fortunate.

But my silence was detrimental instead of helpful.

Lately I’ve been reminded of the gift that I can now offer to others who are facing a difficult climb.

The gift of hope.

I may never have climbed an actual climbing wall, but I have maneuvered through mothering a child with a life-threatening illness.

I’ve been there.

I know what it feels like.

I can help guide others toward the next goal and over the next hurdle.

And so instead of allowing my survivor’s guilt to render me speechless and idle, I’ve been reminded to shout to those who are on the wall in the midst of their battles.

I need to turn my guilt into hope for someone else.

It’s what others did for us, and their encouragement helped us finish the fight.

Now it’s my turn.

I won’t allow my survivors guilt to silence me. Instead, I will turn that guilt into the gift of hope for someone else.

And together, we can keep climbing.

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The Christian Comparison Game: 3 Ideas About How We Can Stop Playing It


Part 2 of 2 In This Series About The Christian Comparison Game

In Part 1 of this 2 part blog series, we talked about WHY we should stop comparing our acts of “Christian service” to what we percieve other believers to be doing for the Kingdom.

You can read Part 1 here.

The three main reasons WHY we should stop the Christian comparisons were:

1. We are discrediting who God made us to be.

2. We are in danger of harming the Body of Christ.

3. We could be tempted to do nothing.

So what now?

We can see WHY we must stop playing the Christian Comparison Game, but HOW?

Here are three ideas.

1. Notice and embrace whom God created YOU to be.

It’s so cliché, but there is truly only one you. And like the old saying goes, “because there’s only one of you, there’s something only you can do.”

Look at Queen Esther of the Bible. She was Jew living in Persia and because of her great beauty, the king choose to make her his wife. When she is told by her cousin, a follow Jew, that their people are being threatened and there’s a plot to kill them all on certain date, she is asked to approach the King with the news that she is a Jew and a request for him to save her people.

Esther was the only one in the right position as both a Queen and a Jew to approach the King with this request. Her cousin Mordecia pleads with her to help by saying in Esther 4:14;

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

And the story has a happy ending. Esther obeys and God delivers.

And that wasn’t a one-time deal! God will continue to deliver us as we obey His call.

So here we are.

This is our time on this planet. What is it that God wants to use us for in His Kingdom?

Notice what God is doing around you. Embrace who you are and what gifts and talents He’s given you to help you join Him.

2. Encourage your follow believers!

My friend Amy is a physical therapist by trade. She works with women who have issues that are very physical and private in nature. Amy is a gifted communicator and has a fire in her belly for justice. God is using Amy’s circumstances, her passions, her talents and training to lead her into a ministry that weekly visits strip clubs to ultimately share the love of Jesus Christ with the dancers. Amy thrives in this ministry and is making an impact for the Kingdom in a way that some other women would not choose. This ministry is the current thing Amy feels God has called her to “for such as time as this.” It may change tomorrow, or next year, or in thirty years. But she is faithful today where God is calling her today.

So instead of comparing our ministry to Amy’s we should pray for her! Do you know that’s exactly what Esther asked her friends to do for her? They fasted and prayed for Esther’s life and for effectiveness in what she was being called to do. We should pray the same things for others and encourage them to press on with our words, notes, texts, emails and whatever else we can think of!

My friend, Lindsay is a gifted teacher. She spends her days in a middle school classroom. To some, the call to a middle school classroom would be more daunting than a call to move to the jungles of Africa, but not to Lindsay. Lindsay teaches with intentionality and care. She pours effort into her lesson plans and she pours love into the classroom. She is building relationships with the kids in her school and when appropriate, she is able to share Christ’s love with them. She daily models what it means to be Christ-follower though she cannot always share it verbally. Her work is her ministry. She is called to teach these kids “for such a time as this.” It may not be her forever job, but she is faithful today where God is calling her today.

So instead of comparing our ministries to Lindsay’s, we can pray for her. Again, we can ask God to use her and that she would be effective in what God has called her to do. I can also encourage Lindsay by being a friend she can count on for a fun evening out and a trusted ear she can talk to.

There are multitudes of ways to encourage others. Pick one. The important thing is that you DO it. And don’t forget, prayer should top the list!

As Hebrews 10:24 says,

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…

3. Get to work!

Your ministry is probably not going to look like my ministry.

That’s fine.

That’s perfect.

That’s beautiful.

Remember, if we were all called to Africa to be missionaries, who would be here to offer a loving home for the child in the foster care system?

If we were all called to the strip clubs, who would teach the inner-city drama club where kids are desperate for an adult to give them positive attention and a sense of value.

If we were all called to full-time ministry in churches or para-church organizations, who would go work on the line in the factories or sit in the corner offices where the lost, both the poor and wealthy, are in need of Jesus’ love and hope.

We all have a part to play on this team.

We all have invaluable work to do for a worthy God who calls, equips, and helps us.

What are we waiting for?

Let’s stop the comparisons, embrace who we are, encourage one another, and roll up our sleeves to obey God where He has called us each today.


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The Christian Comparison Game: 3 Reasons Why We Should Stop Playing It

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series about the Christian Comparison Game

The comparison game. Ugh.

We all do it, even those of us who know better.

Women compare themselves to other women in so many ways.

Why can’t I keep my house as clean as she does? My pile over there has been growing since October. At what point does paper grow mold?!

Her kids are always dressed so cute. Does she think mine look like they just rolled out of bed? I mean, okay so maybe they did just stumble out of their messy rooms.

She’s got the cutest jeans and her hair always looks perfect. I don’t even want her to see me in these sweats. She must think I look frumpy… at best.

Oh my word, she feeds her family actual balanced and healthy meals. I can’t let her know I just ordered pizza….again. Is soda one of the food groups?

You get the idea. You could probably add a few more examples to the list.

But as Christian women, I’m afraid sometimes we take this comparison game in an even more dangerous direction.

Oh, I wish we didn’t! But if I’m being honest, I admit that I’ve struggled with this and I’m wondering if I’m not alone.

We fall into a Christian comparison trap.

We compare our “Christian service,” our “good works,” our “ministries,” our “Kingdom efforts.”

We can’t see the treasures that are being stored up in Heaven, but we think we can maybe estimate how much we’ve earned… and we’d like to make sure it’s at least as much as so-and-so over there, if not a little more.

For example:

She leads a Bible study every Tuesday morning. She gives handouts with detailed notes to the ladies. Doggone, she even put a cute Pinterest graphic on the pretty paper. I’ve never led a Bible study. In fact, I don’t even want to go to hers.

She is so courageous. She follows God’s leading to the most intimidating places. Can you believe she spends time with the homeless on the streets of the inner city?! I don’t even like to drive to the grocery store after dark.

That woman must be a saint. She’s been teaching the preschool class at church for 16 years. She even sits on the floor with them and patiently wipes their grimy little noses. I barely survived my own children being preschoolers.

Are you kidding me? She’s moving to Honduras? She not only learned the Spanish language, she’s now going to uproot herself and work full-time in a orphanage in Tegucigalpa. No hablo Español.

We fall into this trap, even those of us who know better have been guilty of doing it.

And I believe this Christian comparison trap may be even more detrimental than comparing who has the best home décor.

Why is it so harmful to compare our service to God to the things we perceive others are doing for Him?

I believe it’s dangerous for several reasons:

1. We are discrediting who God made us to be.

Psalm 139:13-16 says;

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

We were not thrown together haphazardly. God created us each individually, not on a homosapien assembly line where we all came out looking the same and performing the same robotic tasks.

We are all unique and our days were ordained for us each individually.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says;

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

We don’t get a say in what gifts and talents we receive. We just have the enormous blessing of having the Holy Spirit to guide us and enable us to use what we’ve been given to work to glorify one God.

When we compare our spiritual gifts with those of another, we are backhandedly telling God that the gifts He gave us are not good enough.

God doesn’t make mistakes. God made you to be exactly who He wanted YOU to be.

2. We are in danger of harming the Body of Christ.

The tendency for those of us who compare ourselves to other Christians is to then allow the comparison to turn into jealousy, and jealousy can lead to resentment. When we are resenting a sister in Christ we are most likely not encouraging her.

As a body of believers we are called to build each other up so that together we can glorify God and His Kingdom.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…

We are all on the same team. You might wish you were a point-guard, but God gifted you as a center. Stop resenting the point-guard’s swift dribbling skills and cheer her on. Those dribbling skills are beneficial to your team.

It’s not about you.

It’s not even about her.

It’s about the team, the Body of Christ, and we all should be working together and spurring each other on to do our best.

1 Corinthians 12:21 states;

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

Let’s all be team players. That’s how it was designed to be. We were created to be a team that works together for one wonderful purpose and for one worthy God.

3. We could be tempted to do nothing.

When we compare ourselves to other believers we fight the urge to throw in the proverbial towel.

We think, “Well, if I’m just over here changing diapers in the nursery and no one ever seems to care or notice, then forget it!” We think that since our ministry is behind-the-scenes and no one has ever asked to write a story about our efforts in the local newspaper, then maybe what we’re doing is not good enough.

Idleness is a dangerous thing.

Remember, we are all striving toward the same goal. We shouldn’t stop doing our part because we feel it’s perceived as “too small.” Nothing is too small for God to use. And even more, nothing that God uses is small!!

God desires our obedience and not an impressive resume of things we feel are worthy endeavors.

Hoses 6:6 says:

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

It’s not about the sacrifice, it’s about our hearts. It’s about our obedience to what God has asked us to do. It’s not about what my Christian friend is doing and if it’s seemingly more amazing than what I’m doing.

We are the hands of feet of Jesus and we can’t be twirling our thumbs in resentment toward another’s gifts while trying to stand in the same place as everyone else.

Let’s stop the Christian comparison game.

We all should be laying up treasures in Heaven. Let’s start thinking of the treasures as being in one big pile lying at our Master’s feet instead of separate piles glorying us as individuals.

And let’s remember what an honor it is to be on this team in the first place.


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Welcome, Joy.

She unfolded the little slip of white paper and read the question aloud. The scribbled letters, written in marker, were legible to her little Kindergarten mind, though not always decipherable to the rest of us. Karly had filled a jar with these little scraps, each containing a question that she’d composed, and to which she wanted an answer. It was her way of continuing a tradition we’d started in our family of asking everyone a “conversation starter” question at dinner. The activity was a family favorite, and now Karly wanted to be the master of ceremonies.

“What is your favorite feeling?” our miniature emcee asked. She was thinking outside the box and wanted to know what emotion we all liked the best.

We all took a moment to think and then all five of us agreed. The answer was unanimous.

Joy.

We all like joy.

Who doesn’t?

Joy is great. Right?

So if I like joy so much, why do I sometimes find myself feeling joyless?

I’ve often heard the expression that so-and-so or such-and-such “stole my joy,” but as I think about it, is that really possible?

Can someone else take my joy? Or did I allow my joy to leave?

Perhaps it’s a crowding problem. I have so many other emotions, some that I don’t care for nearly as much as joy, that can take up a lot of space.

Fear.

Doubt.

Uncertainty.

Lies.

Worry.

There’s not much room for joy.

Sometime joy gets pushed out the front door of my heart.

I know that as a Christian I am to “be joyful always” like Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians, but apparently joy is not a constant or automatic guest in the human heart.

Joy waits for an invitation. And like any act of hospitality, to host joy takes effort and sacrifice.

But I wish for joy to take off its coat and stay awhile.

So today I’ll open the door and ask the fears and lies and doubts to hit the road.

I’m going to make room for a favorite.

I’m going to throw down the welcome mat, open the door of my heart wide,

…and welcome joy.167324_128373713898631_4310663_n

 

This post is part of Five Minute Friday where a group of bloggers link up here and write about a given topic (for approximately 5 minutes.) The topic is based on a one-word prompt. This week’s word was: WELCOME


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A Little Help Here?

I dug my heals into the ground and gripped the sides of the piano until my knuckles were white and my face was red. I pulled and then twisted and squirmed until the beast of an instrument finally budged a few inches. I was going to move this thing across the room in order to rearrange the living room for the Christmas season. Never mind the fact that it had taken four grown men to put the piano where it was, I had my mind set on getting this done today and, I was going to do it.

But it sure would be nice to have some help.

The rest of my family was busy doing their own thing and apparently they weren’t feeling the urgency or passion I was feeling about this particular project.

But I figured they’d see me working and realize I needed them to help.

I figured wrong.

I pushed and pulled that piano for quite awhile, taking breaks only to move the other pieces of furniture that were in my way. I had determined that I was going to do this, and if there’s one thing I am, it’s determined (though my husband may have another word for it.)

Just ask those who were in my high school youth group back in the day when we spent some time together on a lake where I wanted to learn to water ski. I had set my mind on the fact that I was going to get up on those skis and I tried over several days… a mere 54 times… before I got it. (Come to think of it, don’t mention this to my old youth group friends; I think they’re still trying to block it out from their memories. They spent a lot of time turning circles in a boat.)

Anyway, when I’m determined, I’m determined. And nothing, not even a dinosaur of a piano, is going to stop me.

“Hello?”

“Do you guys not see that I’m doing this right now and could use a hand?!”

“A little help here?”

Of course, I didn’t actually say any of these things out loud because I figured that I didn’t need to. It was obvious by my groans and facial expressions that I needed help.

But turns out they weren’t paying attention. They didn’t notice what I was doing and they had no plans of joining me.

I had to swallow my pride (and try to stand up straight without wincing) and ask for their help.

Sure enough, they then joined me, and together we moved the furniture, piano included, with much more ease.

I’m not here to throw stones in regards to watching others work and not seeing a need and helping. In fact, I’m guilty of it too.

There have been times when I’ve stood leaning my arms on my mom’s kitchen counter chatting away about whatever is on my mind while she does an entire family gathering’s worth of dishes. I’m looking at her, but I’m not seeing the fact that I could easily grab a towel and help.

I’ve missed opportunities to join others in tasks more times than I could count.

But I’ve been thinking, how often do I miss joining in on what my Heavenly Father is doing?

I know from studying Scripture that God is working. He has a plan and purpose and He wishes to involve those who are willing.

It’s like He’s there waiting and thinking,

“Hello?”

“Do you guys not see that I’m doing this right now and would use you too?!

“A little help here?”

Philippians 1:6 says,

…that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

And later in the same book of the Bible, Paul continues with this idea by saying in Philippians 2:13:

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

I see reasons to believe that God is working toward making me more like Him and I believe that according to Romans 8:28 that ALL that He does will ultimately glorify Himself and His Kingdom. It says,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

God is at work in my life and all around me.

• Have I noticed Him lately?

• How can I join Him?

• Have I prayed about what God wants me to do today to honor Him?

• Am I living in a way pleasing to Him to make sure I am striving to BE who He wants me to BE?

These are questions that I hope to consider more often in the coming year. I don’t want to be caught leaning on the counter watching others work when I could be rolling up my sleeves and grabbing a towel.

It’s not because God needs me or that He couldn’t get it done without me. On the contrary, anything I do outside of Him is nothing.

Lord, may you open the eyes of my heart this year so that I may SEE you. Give me the WISDOM to know how and where you want to use me. Grant me the HUMILITY to OBEY. Make me into the woman YOU desire me to be. May I bear FRUIT, not for my own benefit, but for your Kingdom.  And to You be all GLORY now and forever. Amen.

Oh… and by the way, now that Christmas is over, who wants to come over and help me move the piano back?


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14 Things I Learned During the Christmas Season of 2014.

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In keeping with my own tradition the past couple of years, I thought I’d sit here in my pjs and slippers (that I waited to put back on until 3:30 this afternoon) on this last Sunday of “Christmas Break” and share:

14 Things I’ve Learned during the Christmas season of 2014. 

14. If your Kindergartener puts homemade “reindeer food” on the front porch on Christmas Eve, she in turn expects that on Christmas morning this special recipe of marshmallows, pretzels, carrots, M & M’s, and chocolate chips will be gone/eaten. If you happen to forget to remove the said “reindeer food” while the said Kindergartner is sleeping, then you must stall your three children at the top of the steps and go “check” to make sure that it’s “safe” to go outside to the front porch. You then must shove very soggy marshmallows, pretzels, carrots, what used to be M & M’s, and waxy chocolate into your pockets.DSC_0552

13. Wet marshmallows are sticky.

12. Barbie MEGAblocks are not MEGA. According to the dictionary, “MEGA” means, “very large” or “huge.” If by huge they mean “half the size of your preschooler’s fingernail,” then MEGAblocks is an appropriate name for the Barbie MEGAblocks sets.

11. If the box containing the unassembled Barbie MEGAblocks swimming pool claims that the pool can be built by a 4-8 year-old, then these children must be in the MENSA program and/or are already construction engineers.

10. I am not a construction engineer.

9. My 4-year-old is not in MENSA.DSC_0538

8. If your sister-in-law has a December birthday you celebrate at Christmas and she mentions that she’d always wanted a “Doll Dress” cake when she was a girl, you give the woman a Doll Dress cake by sticking a Barbie in the Baked Alaska cake your mother-in-law made. You’re never too old for a Barbie cake. (Aluminum foil may be required to keep the cake G Rated.)DSC_0460

7. It’s best to be slow to speak and quick to listen as your child questions you on the validity of Santa Claus. The standard, “Well, what do you think?” reply works well.

6. The standard, “Well, what do you think?” reply does NOT work well with your husband when he is asking you what size of clothing he should purchase for you for Christmas.

5. It’s very easy to find something fun to buy for ten-year-old boys. DSC_0486

4. It’s very difficult to find something fun to buy for forty-year-old boys.

3. When your little one says she knows the Santa at the mall is just someone dressed up, just be quiet for a couple of beats because she may just follow that statement up with, “Because I know the REAL Santa is still in the North Pole.”

2. Three kids and seven hours of baking makes for A LOT of goodies and a very sore lower back. (And, you can get ALMOST anything to stick to a pretzel rod you’ve dipped in melted chocolate.)

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1. The Christmas season can be full of anticipation and joy. The best gift of all is anticipating the joy that can be ours because of that perfect baby, Jesus, who we celebrate all year long!

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Here’s to a great 2015!

 

 

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