Showing posts from 2014

A Holiday Toast

Somehow we've made it to the end of the year and Christmas is here.  Nearly all the preparations are done.  (Aren't there always last minute things that need doing even with planning?). This Christmas Eve, I've got my day all planned out.  After an abbreviated work day (and I am BLESSED to have a job), I will hurry home and pick up my guys.  My little guy (who is not so little...I'm thinking by this time next year he may be taller than me!) will be singing and kinging at our church's 4 o'clock service.  It will be joyous chaos as it always is. Afterwards if it's not too wet (I'm not adverse to the warm, but the wet I could do without), we will drive around a bit to see the holiday lights.  (And if it is too wet, I have a contingency plan to do this Friday evening...always the planning mom.) We will go home and have an early and light dinner.  During which I have a suspicion that a certain stuffed animal (which I am guessing will be named Snowy)


"Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine, Love was born at Christmas, Star and Angels gave the sign." The fourth Sunday in Advent brings to mind one of my favorite hymns/anthems which takes its lyrics from a poem by Christina Rossetti.  It reminds me that Christmas exists because of the birth of a child.  To me, a child means love.  When I became a mom, I found a love that I had never experienced before and never expected to experience.  It's amazing what love a child can bring. Unlike adults, young children love unconditionally and wholeheartedly.  Does anything feel better than a hug from a child? Biblically, God gave us love in the form of the baby Jesus.  If that doesn't tell us how important children are/should be, I don't know what does.   Another one of my favorite holiday anthems is "One Small Child" which says:  "Share the joy which comes this night, in the love of one small child."  Christmas means lo

The Last Month of the Year

Here we are at the end of 2014.  How did we get to December so quickly?  (How did it get to be the middle of the month?  Or since we've passed the 15th are we already rushing to the end?) Why do the months that preceded it seem like years ago? I remember the long hard winter we had (and fear for another one). Spring and summer seem to have tumbled into one and autumn didn't seem to exist (maybe because I spent pretty much all of September and October and part of November/December visiting hospitals and care centers with my father being so ill).  2014 seems to have blended into a mass haze for me and somewhere in my brain we've already morphed into 2015. So what can I do with the rest of this last month?  I (and you) can do my best to enjoy it.  To try and slow down a bit and maybe catch up on what the past 11 months have all been about.  I want to make this month count and not be a blur like so much of the year has been for me.  That may mean that some stuff that i


The third Sunday in Advent brings us to joy.  Advent and Christmas SHOULD be full of joy.  Most of the trappings of the holiday as we currently know it SHOULD bring us joy.  The smells (holiday cookies, pine trees), the sights (the lights, the decorations), the sounds (the carols, the bells), the tastes (chocolate candies, peppermint candy canes) and even the feel/touch (the fresh chill of the air, the warmth of a fire); they should all fill your heart and soul with joy. But do they?  Do we allow ourselves those moments of joy or do we rush by them? Joy is tough for me this Sunday.  Not to complain (although I do that a lot!), I and my family have been through a lot this year.  And sadly, this week was no exception when a dear friend and neighbor, lost her battle with cancer.  How can I find joy when this woman, the "mom" of our block is no longer around?  I am sad; my community is upset; a family is devastated.  How can I even think about joy? But by not allowin

No Spirit This Season?

Maybe it's just the grayness of the days that we've had, but for someone who known for her holiday spirit and "Christmas-ness," I'm just not feeling it.  Yes my tree is up as are the rest of the decorations.  I've done most of the holiday cards. Presents have been bought and wrapped (or at least placed into gift bags).  Christmas tunes are playing on my radio.  Christmas is only a little over 2 weeks away.  But something seems to be missing for me. There are plenty of reasons why I'm a bit down in the dumps this year: My dad is back in the hospital (he was admitted the day before Thanksgiving).  Though it looks like he will be out this week, it's been a very trying time. Our special music service at church has been postponed/canceled as our director's son is seriously ill. A good friend of mine is on hospice care A couple of recent financial opportunities that looked very promising turned out not to be. Volun


The second Sunday in Advent:  Peace. A fitting topic the day also commemorates the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor; a day where peace was shattered.  A day when we should remember the past and pray for peace now and in the future. But the question for me personally is, do I have peace?  With Christmas less than a month away how can I find peace?   Even as I sit down to write this, my mind is running in a million different directions.  There is so much I have to do and not just for the holiday season.  How do I make time to fit it all in?  How can I find peace in my heart when my father is in the hospital?  How can I even address the bigger question of who I can make peace in the world?  If I don’t stop the chaos that clutters my mind and my life, there can be no peace. There's the wonderful song/hymn "Let There Be Peace On Earth “which says "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."  I take that as if I want there to be peace on earth, I first

I like Ralph

It's that time of year again.  Yes, it's Elf season.  Elves are popping up everywhere (though mostly on Facebook).  It seems like half the world LOVES Elf season (plenty of cute photos of those little guys and gals posing) and the other half ABHORS it.  Each side has their reasons for their opinion and each side is certainly entitled to that. As for me, I'm in the middle of the road.  Hard to believe, but I can see where both sides are coming from. We have our own elf, named Ralph by my son when he first arrived at our house Thanksgiving evening several years ago.  Since then Ralph has been showing up at our house every Thanksgiving (after dinner).  He usually knocks on the door; although no one sees him come in when we open it.  He must be quite quick because after knocking he'll appear somewhere in the living room or dining room without anyone seeing him move.  This year, perhaps knowing that Thanksgiving wasn't going to be the same this year with my parents

One Step Forward, One Step Back. Now We're Doing The Cha-Cha?

Step forward, step back and cha-cha-cha.  Seems like my life has become this little dance.  Or that's how I'm choosing to look at it. My family took a big step forward in early November when my dad came home from the rehab center and seemed well on the path to recovery.  Then we took the step back...and boy was it a big one! Right before Thanksgiving my father got ill and showed all the symptoms that had plagued him when this nasty roller coaster ride of an infection started.  Being the smart woman that my mother is, she took him to the hospital (which is where he was heading later that day anyway for some follow up at the wound care center).  He was readmitted. That in itself would be a step back, but not a big step back.  The big step back was to follow, but that comes later; after my MOM was admitted to the hospital the same day.  No, I'm not kidding.  While in the hospital my mother had "an event".  She heartbeat was irregular and she nearly black


It's the first Sunday in Advent.  It's hard not to think of this time as "Christmas Season", but officially it's "Advent Season."  (Or should that be Advent Time?  Does it really matter?)  What it really means for me is that I should (and hopefully will) wear more of my favorite color:  purple.  Purple or sometimes blue (which is a runner up when it comes to favorite colors) is the color of Advent. As far as I know (and I'll admit I'm not the most learned person when it comes to Advent), each of the four Sundays in Advent represent a theme:  Hope, Peace, Joy and Love (respectively). Hope.  What do I hope for this advent?  I hope for all the things that the following Sundays will bring:  Peace (not just for the world, but for my own inner kind), Joy (in my life and all of those who I love), and (continued) Love.  To bring it down to a more personal level, I hope that this season will be peaceful with bring the end of the drama and stress

On Being a Quiet Friend

I'm blessed to have many different friends.  I have friends on the extreme right, extreme left and somewhere in the middle.  I have friends who are gay and friends who are straight.  I have friends who have strong religious beliefs in a wide variety of religions and I have friends who shun religion all together.  I have friends who I communicate with nearly every day (in some form or another...the internet can be a wonderful and powerful tool when friends live across the globe) and friends I don't talk to/hear from as much as I would like.  I love them all in my own way. My way is often to be quiet. It's not everyone's way and it some may not understand it, but it is my way and I do it out of respect and love. Sadly, recently, several of my friends have had crises in their lives.  Sadly, over the past few months, my life has been filled with some chaos and crisis as well.  And while I may have had to focus on my own problems and issues, it doesn't mean I ha

It's Not Winter, Is It?

According to my calendar, winter isn't "due" for about another month.  Yet my front lawn (where I've seen bits of snow...not big globs, but bits) and the thermometer tell me otherwise. Yes, I realize that autumn is coming to an end.  That December is right around the corner.  But I am NOT ready for winter yet. I know, I shouldn't be complaining.  The Midwest and New England have seen their share of snow and cold.  But I am not ready for this! Yes, we’ve had snowfall earlier in the season.  (I'm still trying to block out the Halloween that was "cancelled" due to all the snow.)  And yes, we've had colder temperatures, but after the LAST winter we had (which I realize was NOT the coldest OR the snowiest on record, but it sure felt like it) I think we deserve a little break. Obviously Mother Nature does not agree with me. In my mind, winter should start on December 21st and end somewhere in early March.  Snow is fine for Christma

Is It Time to Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is just a little over a week away.  You wouldn't know it if you entered any shopping mall.  It's all about Christmas.  In many cases it's been all about Christmas since September.  I know the day before Halloween I was driving by the local garden center and there was a Giant Inflatable Santa on the front of the building and off to the side, but still visible were haystacks, pumpkins and other assorted "Halloween" items...I was wondering if I'd missed the memo on a new holiday:  Hallo-mas or maybe Christween??? Now I realize retailers need to make money and hopefully a holiday push will mean more seasonal jobs.  (I hear employment is up, but I'm not seems like the "traditional" job market is long gone and has been replaced by "contract" positions, part time positions and "seasonal help," but that's a blog for another day.)  But it would be nice if we could celebrate a holiday on its own with

It Is Not Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day was yesterday; 11/11, a reminder of the end of World War I.  (Supposedly the war to end all wars, but as we know that was sadly not the case.) So today is NOT Veteran's Day.  There will be no parades today.  There will be no special services.  There will be no wreathes or poppies.  Today is November 12th and it is not Veteran's Day. But why do we have to wait until a date on the calendar to say thank you and show our gratitude?  Of course there should be a day set aside to honor those who have served our country.  Not a day for special retail sales, but a day to truly show our appreciation for the sacrifices our service men and women have made.  But we do not have to wait until next November 11th to say thank you or to show our gratitude. So while there are no public ceremonies, when you see a veteran or someone who has or is serving in any branch of the military, why not take a moment to say thank you?  There are other things you can do too:  http://www

Can You Tell Me How To Get...

to Sesame Street? Where would I be without Sesame Street ?  Where would countless people be without Big Bird, Ernie & Bert, Oscar, Grover, Cookie Monster, etc.?    And I can't forget Bob, Gordon, Susan, Maria, Luis or Mr. Hooper. The show premiered 45 years ago today and I was watching.  I just about the right age.  I may not remember the details of that first show, but I have it on DVD and when I watched it again it was charming (and a little dull too, but then things were different in 1969).  If I recall, the show aired twice a day on our PBS station (channel 13) and I watched the same episode in the morning (10 AM?) and afternoon (4 PM?).  I can vaguely recall watching on the television in my parent's room, so Sesame Street was black and white to me most days.  I did watch in the living room some times, which meant it was all in glorious color.  Those were definitely different days! Sesame Street shaped my childhood and as a result shaped my life.  I learn


It's Election Day and if you think your vote doesn't count for much, talk to the man in my town who lost his bid for town council by ONE vote.  (And he did so with so much grace that the leaders of this nation should take note of.) But it was only town council, that doesn't count for much, right?  WRONG.  Every election, nationwide, statewide or small little town DOES count.   The people YOU vote for determine how your town, your state and your country is run.  (Ok, so that is oversimplifying it, but you get the idea). So get out there and cast your vote today (unless you've already voted by absentee ballot; in which case kudos to you for thinking ahead!)  But don't vote because I'm telling you.  Don't vote for the Democratic Party OR the Republican Party (or any party in between).  Don't vote because a candidate is the same race as you or the same religion or the same sex (or sexual orientation).  Vote for the person you believe in.  Vote for t

A Birthday Present

Facebook reminded me today that it is my friend's birthday.  I'll admit, I forgot.  Heck, I already forgot my mother in law's birthday last month, so I'm not doing too well on the birthday front.  But at least my friend is on Facebook so that I can get a friendly reminder about birthdays and at least post a quick "Happy Birthday" on a page. But for this particular friend, that's not enough. I haven't physically seen her in at least 20 years (although she can correct me if I'm wrong on that front).  We didn't even get to know each other until the middle of our junior year of high school when she and her family moved back to town.  (Her family lived on the opposite side of town than my family which meant we wouldn't have met up in elementary school either.)  If my fading memory is correct, we met when she joined the drama department's spring musical production.  (If you could call it a "department.")  It was during those lon

The Last Week of October...

It's a time to think about Halloween.  It's' a time of think about the time change (which is this Sunday morning).  And it's a time to remember Sandy. It's been 2 years and still the name Sandy means only one thing to so many people:  destruction.  Destruction of homes and destruction of life as we knew it.  It was not just a storm; it was a Superstorm.  Sandy washed cars and houses into the bay.  Keepsakes gone and memories clung to. Two years later and the destruction is still visible.  The pain is still acute.  Progress has been made, but so much more still needs to be done.  The Jersey Shore still needs to be restored. Two summers have come and gone since Sandy.  The summers are different now.  Not just because of beaches still being closed or the constant sound of construction.  The landscape will be forever marked.  Houses elevated and houses that remain "as they were".  And of course the missing houses; the gaps that remain where once s


I was a guest speaker today (Sunday, 10/26) at my church.  Here are the passages read and my mediation. Leviticus 19: 15-18 19:15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. 19:17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Matthew 22:34-40 22:34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 22:35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 22:36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 22:37 He said to him, "'


Yesterday was a day of small disappointments that really got me down.  Nothing major, yet sometimes the emotions trump the logic in me.  Yesterday was one of those days. The biggest disappointment is that my father will not be coming home next week as I had hoped.  That is NOT to say that he's not getting better.  He is so much better than he was when this diabolical infection took hold.  So much better that I am already starting to block out the horror that it was when it began 6 weeks ago.  Back then I knew it was going to me a long haul.  In my mind I set a date of the end of October as when he would be home.  Now I have to accept that October is ending and he is not yet ready to be released from the care center.  Not that he isn't getting better; just that his wounds still need to heal and this process is very (VERY) slow.  I SHOULD set a new date in my head of Thanksgiving so that I won't be disappointed, but my brain is saying Veteran's Day.  I hope I'm n

NOT the Best Daughter In Law In the World

I've always thought that I was a pretty good daughter in law. It helps that I have a pretty cool mother in law.  (No nightmare stories here...actually the only nightmares I have about my mother in law is that she might fall and break something again.  I'm too far away to physically check in with her as I'd like to.)  But I had an EPIC fail yesterday...I missed my mother-in-law's birthday. Now I could throw my husband under the bus.  After all she is HIS mother.  Or I could point out that I did make sure that my son sent her a birthday card (which arrived towards the end of last week).  Or I could make the excuse that my life has been so crazy lately (my father is still in a "care center" recovering from a serious infection, my son has a big project due for class, I've got a full time job AND I'm speaking in front of my congregation on Sunday).  But let's lay it on the line.  I messed up.  (To be fair so did my husband.) As I said, I've

I Miss Mario

My dad is entering week 4 of the "care center" (aka nursing home).  While he is so much better than he was 6 weeks ago when this nightmare began, he still has a long way to go.  (Lesson learned:  infections can come on fast, but a serious one takes what seems like an eternity go away and even after that the "side effects" can take even longer to fade resulting in months of recovery.  Something I never anticipated and was definitely not prepared for.) Yesterday my dad moved into a new room.  He originally had a roommate, Mario, but Mario got "kicked out." (That's a good least I hope it is.  I wanted him to be able to leave because he was healthy enough to go, not because his insurance/Medicaid would no longer cover his care.  The truth is it was mostly because of the later, but I hope the former came into play as well.)  As much as I loved Mario, it was nice to have a "private" room.  But we knew a roommate was inevitable.  Wha

The "B" is Back

I'm generally a nice person.  (Honestly!  Truly!)  I'm no angel, but I would like to think that I'm easy to get along with.  My personality is not "pushy" and I generally go with the flow. But there is one area where you don't want to mess with me and that is family. I stand by my family; I will fight for my family.  You DON'T mess with me! Ever since my father got ill I've been keeping an eye on his care.  I'm not unreasonable and I'm not demanding; I just want to make sure that my father is getting the care he needs to get better.  I'm not going to complain about the food at the hospital or the rehab center; that's NOT what he's there for.  (Does anyone expect the food at these places to be gourmet?  Some days it's good, some days it's not.  It's not unlike life.)  I AM going to complain when he is not getting the quality of care that he needs and/or that we were promised when he was moved from the hospital to