This is a test of this new blog site. I’m posting our Christmas letter b/c we own “The Printer That Stole Christmas”. After a painful babysitting job of feeding it, and continually assuring it that the paper was fine and the right size and not photo paper, well, it quit all together. Bah, humbug to it too. So, to those of you who did not receive a paper copy I am sorry. If you feel so inclined to tell me you’d like to be at the top of the queue next year then please do. I love feedback.
Here it is:
Just this morning I awoke early to work out with my friend, Alison. (That makes it sound easy and natural. Let me be clear, it was neither). Only my commitment to her motivates me. That and judgment and vanity and good parking. As the afternoon wanes, and I with it, I’m left wondering why, truly, I did such a silly, short-sighted thing. Are there not hours after the sun is up and the children are busy at school to use? Or at least other friends? Yes, however, since I’ve immersed myself in volunteer work then I need to get my aging body’s maintenance out of the way early. Alison knows this. She is a good friend to come along side me, overlook my puffy eyes, crazy hair, and occasional bad attitude. It’s the time of year to count blessings, right?
Now that I’ve spent myself, though, who’s going to finish the laundry? Make dinner? Listen to Grace read? Remind Thomas that the World of Warcraft doesn’t need him as much as his homework does? That’s right, as part of my volunteer duties that person is me. I’m also going to coordinate clean up and quality time right before I begin shrieking for them to clean their rooms, stop that!, get ready for bed, focus, and ask for the 347th time this year, “Did you brush your teeth yet?” followed by the necessary, “All of them?”. At this stable point in the evening we will hug, say “good night” and I will indulge in a bed time snack (hence needing to work out). Another successful day brought to a close.
Tomorrow brings a new bag of potential. My volunteer work starts me in the kitchen making lunches, toasting waffles, puts me in the van pool, and then I’m wide open until the children need me to nanny again in the afternoon. I try to temper my vigor for house work with facebook and “appointments” with friends. Sometimes these friends need me to just visit or to give a discerning eye to their shopping choices. If I’m lucky we’ll be out and about near lunch time. I find it very fulfilling to share my time this way—giving back and all. I don’t mind to do phone consultations either. I try to be flexible. Different people, different needs, you know.
Depending on the time year you’ll find me in different fields gaining experience. For instance, in the fall it’s a football field and in the spring lacrosse (had our first season just this last year with Thomas). In addition, all year long I’ve been in and out of the school gym where Grace has been dabbling with fencing. These opportunities have allowed Nevin and I to learn new terms, buy new gear, and meet new people. I’m pretty sure the kids have enjoyed themselves as well.
Speaking of Nevin, one reason my opportunity to volunteer has been so abundant is because of his work as the Combat Systems Officer on the U.S.S. Michigan. Most people call him the Weps, short for weapons. He’s in charge of missiles, other exploding things, and karaoke night. His rendition of Reba’s “Fancy” is a crowd favorite. Personally, I prefer “Any Man of Mine”.
Reality is, we’ve had a slower year. We didn’t move, no one graduated, no awkward day of school as the “new kid”, no searching for a church, a radio station, good donut shop, or hair stylists (a sure sign that God loves me). We’ve been given an opportunity to be quiet, to “tend our sheep”. Not that I figured that out right away. It seemed wrong at first to not be busier. Busy masks important and has the insidious nature of being justifiable. Life needs, it demands, it judges, and it keeps going whether we’re ready or not. Don’t want to be left behind or out of the loop, certainly. What did God have to say to me? The One who showed me love by sending His only son to redeem me? The One who knows my thoughts from afar and my needs before I do? He quite plainly said, “Be still”. In fact, in Ps 46:10 He commands that I be still and know that He is God. Why? For my own good, for peace, for growth, and perspective it is necessary. If He is God than what isn’t or who isn’t? I, for starters, am not, neither are governments, situations, cultures, rulers, other people, opinions, sickness, death, the unknown, fear, the future, the sword, or any other power. He tells us to choose to be still, to let our reality meet His. Taking our thoughts captive, remembering that emotions have no I.Q. and really allowing the “knowing” to sink in has a powerful effect: It is peace. He’s in charge all the time. He is not surprised by anything. It is our vision that is dark. So we trust the Light of the World to be who He is and to do what He knows is right. He is good, He is love, He is just, and He is victorious. If He is for us, if He will never leave us, if He is in charge, and if nothing can separate us from His love then who can be against us? What is there to fear?
Mary and Joseph give us a great picture of trust in the midst of personal darkness. For them life was confusing, chaotic, disappointing, ostracizing, and yet peaceful. They didn’t understand. How could they? God’s ways are not ours. Yet they knew He was God. They knew He could be trusted. From a moment of darkness and pain came the Savior.
Much Love and Devotion,