Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Socks

Our family has a long tradition of holiday socks - and not just for Christmas. I have given my children socks for Halloween, Easter, Fourth of July, St. Patty's Day - you name it, I've found a sock for it.

But, of course, Christmas socks seem to be the most memorable.

And not just the outrageously themed ones. My kids actually love the useful, "I-really-need-a-new-pair" socks that they always tend to find under the tree. Just so you know, their sock joy has only increased since they've become legal adults who might be expected to provide their own socks without the aid of their dear, old mum.

Last year I got the best Christmas present a mother could ever hope for - evidence that my kids truly do pay attention to me and the silly, little traditions I have tried to create for them. And it was carefully wrapped in a box and came with a bow.

Each of them - unbeknownst to the other - had chosen the most wonderfully festive socks they could find.

And I was delighted!!

I have been sporting my holiday footwear while wrapping presents, sipping some egg nog and enjoying every bad holiday movie I can find the time to squeeze in.

Here's to my fantastic kidlets, their awesome senses of humor and the sweet, sweet knowledge that things (some more random than others) do sink in.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rock, Paper, Jesus! (an oldie but a goodie...)

I totally wanted to give you a new post tonite, but as it's now tomorrow and I haven't even begun to settle my head for a long winter's (or even one night's) nap, I decided to cheat. This is a favorite from 2009. The kiddos in question are now 10 and 13 - and their delightful take on a classic game and the power of Jesus is just as awesome today as it was then.

And, right now Jesus is the only play I have left, and I'm awfully glad that He's always glad to answer.

Since Christmas is the day we observe the birth of Jesus, then I thought it would be appropriate to commit at least one entry to Him that has nothing at all to do with the holiday.

Marius, my little friend who many of you may remember from Halloween (I'm not really Spiderman, either), is a seemingly unending source of quality blog fodder.

The other day he and his brother, Darien, were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. Marius is the kind of kid who always likes to win--and will bend the rules as needed to ensure his victory. Sometimes this passionate quest for glory ends in smiles and laughter, and other times it ends with violence and tears.

On the auspicious occasion of the game in question, Marius' determination to win was as vibrant as ever. After several turns of winning and several more of losing, he decided he had had enough.

Terri was half-way listening to the interminable rounds of Rock, Paper, Scissors, when she heard something she didn't expect.

Darien and Marius were saying, in unison, "Rock...Paper..." and when it was time to reveal their weapon of choice and see who came out the victor, she heard Marius say (without a hint of mischief, if you can believe it!) "JESUS!"

When she asked him what he had said (just to make sure she had heard correctly--she had) and why he had said it, he told her "Jesus beats everything!"

Darien thought it was unfair, but Terri (Christian woman that she is) couldn't help her firstborn out this time--she had to agree with Marius' insightful (if devious) observation.

So many parts of me love this incident. I think of how many times in my life I've been playing a futile game and needed to cry out, "Jesus!" Foolishly enough, I have to admit that I probably don't pull that card as often as I should. But, every time I do--even after months (or years) of ignoring His willingness and eagerness to answer my call--I always win.

(Here's a pic of those rascals - from Christmas 2013)

Monday, December 15, 2014

...If the Fates Allow...

"Christmas crept a creeping Christmas thing: dragging garland, ribbon, and sleigh bells, oozing eggnog, reeking of pine, and threatening festive doom like a cold sore under the mistletoe."

This  beautifully disturbing descriptive picture of the holidays has long been one of my favorites. I, for years, came dragging into the spirit of the season - but before I knew it I fell in love.

Giddy, ridiculous, over-the-top love with the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

But that doesn't mean it's an easy time for me. Or for many others.

This year the promise of a triumphant, joyous season has been cut deep by a devastatingly sad event. An undeniable tragedy. And one from which I am struggling to extract myself.

This isn't the first tragedy to enter my sphere this time of year. And, I suppose it's all the joy to the world and good will toward men and God bless us everyone that makes such a loss - right now -  seem all the more pulverizing.

And, while this should be a triumphant return to the long-lost blog, I believe that the life of one lost, beautiful, gentle, soft-spoken, bright-eyed girl is worth recognition. And in the midst of the joy and hope I have for the coming year, I have to honor grief and mourning and that desperate missing of someone for whom you never expected to be without.

At least not yet.

My daughter/son (more on that later) lost a best friend, a love, a 'shooting star' in a moment of despair so deep I can't even fathom it's depth. And now her world is forever changed. It will never turn again in quite the same way. It WILL turn. But there is a hole in the fabric of everything that wasn't there before a sad, desperate girl carved it out.

It will take weeks, months, years - a lifetime - to move through all the passages that will follow. But I know that there is strength enough to make the journey. 

Tonite we gathered our little family together - sometimes you just need to be able to see one other, look into your loved ones' eyes and make that connection that calms your heart and reigns in your worst fears.

I paraded my preliminary, and somewhat half-hearted attempts at Christmas decor for my gathered loin-fruit. And they loved it. And we were drawn together and comforted by it.

Happily, I once again laud the spirit of the season, the magic in the air, and the power of family, tradition, and glittery lights to buoy the human spirit.

Even in the worst of times.

And, I know that even though our measly display isn't perfect or all that spectacular, it's about family and love and fun and frivolity - it makes us happy. And I hope it makes her beautiful smile shine as well.